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Courier file photo

OTTUMWA — A $142,347 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will help cover the costs of improving access to Ottumwa’s industrial park and Helgerson Flats.

The entrance to the area includes a sharp turn at North Court Street and Fox Sauk Road, one that is difficult for large trucks to manage. That makes the site less attractive to businesses. The grant will help pay for widening the turn by about 50 feet, making it much easier for truck traffic to get in and out. The work will also improve the intersection, which was not designed for the vehicle weight or traffic volume it receives.

The project’s concept dates back to early 2019. It involved the purchase of a small parcel of land from the Iowa National Guard by Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress (GOPiP), which the organization transferred to the city.

Sharon Stroh, GOPiP’s vice president of industrial development, said the completion of that sale was delayed briefly by the Guard’s need to devote resources and time to the state’s COVID-19 pandemic response. But the project is now scheduled for a potential August bid and completion before the end of the year.

Stroh noted the grant did not require a local match.

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