OTTUMWA — The Ottumwa Economic Development Corp. has received a grant that could wind up meaning significant changes for a rail spur downtown.

The $80,000 grant is from the Iowa Department of Transportation. It’s a planning grant, and OEDC will use the money to determine whether it is feasible to relocate the Burlington Junction Railway spur near Jefferson and Union streets.

OEDC Executive Director Sharon Stroh said the goal is to find out whether the spur could be moved to a location with better access, particularly for large trucks. No site has been selected for the move, though OEDC said a location closer to South Iowa Avenue would be preferable.

“Our organization is working closely with Burlington Junction and Area 15 Regional Planning Commission to make sure the study provides what the property owners and the community need for the long term,” Stroh said.

South Iowa Avenue was rebuilt in 2016 to handle the truck traffic associated with JBS, and the road’s quick access to Highway 34 and Highway 63 could make it attractive if the rail spur was closer.

The Ottumwa grant was one of four approved in this round of funding. There were six applications presented to the IDOT in June.

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