OTTUMWA — Work at the former Target building in Ottumwa could be near completion before the year is out, paving the way for the Veterans Administration clinic to occupy it.

While the project was announced last year, it had been quiet until recently. On Tuesday the city council will vote on a proposed development agreement with Highlands Development, LLC, that could set the work in motion. The initial phase of the work involves about $15,000 square feet of space that will be used for the new clinic, as well as work on the entrance.

The construction work on that initial phase must be “substantially completed by December 31, 2020” according to the agreement. The cost is expected to be around $8 million.

Ottumwa is offering a TIF rebatement not to exceed $3.8 million over the course of the next 20 years. The estimate is that the rebatement’s cost will fall between $2.6 million and $2.8 million.

Tuesday’s meeting will also include discussion of a transfer of $115,880 to Bridge View Center as an internal loan. The move is similar to the proposed transfer of $100,000 that was voted down earlier this month. City Administrator Philip Rath said at the time of the earlier vote that city staff recommended rejection because another approach had been identified.

Council members have debated the funding several times since it was requested. It has generated considerable controversy given the fact council members passed a budget cutting public safety positions earlier in the year.

While recognizing the effect the pandemic has had on event cancellations, as well as the city’s obligations regarding debts incurred by a city-owned facility, council members have been cautious about their approach to the request from Bridge View.

The virus shows up in another item Tuesday, albeit one that is likely to be much less controversial. The Ottumwa Police Department will get a significant infusion of supplies with acceptance of a $41,882 grant from the federal government.

Items listed in city documents as a proposed spending plan for the grant include 30 cases of disposable gloves, 25 cases of hand sanitizer, and face masks, including the N95 masks that have been in very short supply.

The council meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday and will be live streamed on the city’s YouTube page.

Matt Milner can be reached at and followed on Twitter @mwmilner


Managing Editor

Matt Milner currently serves as the Courier's Managing Editor. Milner is a trained weather spotter and is usually outside if there are storms. He joined the Courier in 2002.

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