Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

CNHI/Southeast Iowa

May 15, 2014

Main Street Ottumwa recognized for achievements

OTTUMWA — Since 2006, the Main Street Ottumwa program has helped to link organizations in the downtown district with funding and education to help with some of the city’s biggest projects.

The efforts Main Street Ottumwa has made have not gone unnoticed within the Main Street Iowa program, and they recently recognized Ottumwa and several other area communities and individuals for outstanding community service.

On May 2, Main Street Iowa hosted its 27th annual Main Street Iowa Awards celebration, and Main Street Ottumwa was one of 12 communities in the state that was recognized for reaching the $5 million private dollar investment level.

“[The ceremony] is to celebrate the progress that is being made,” Main Street Ottumwa Executive Director Bob Untiedt said. “We are seen as being innovative. We are linking people together and creating education.”

Since 2006 there has been more than $5 million invested by private entities in Ottumwa toward downtown revitalization and development. Most of that has also been matched by similar amounts of government funding, Untiedt said, that the city would not have gotten if it was not a Main Street Iowa community.

“The Iowa Economic Development Authority is noting that we play a role with accessing funds,” Untiedt said. “Because we are a Main Street community we are eligible for additional funding,”

Some of the many projects the invested money has gone toward include Market on Main, the theater redevelopment and revitalization, the KMGO and Appanoose Rapids Brewing Company buildings development, façade improvement project and several others.

Main Street Ottumwa was also awarded the Best Communication Project award thanks to Soup and the Scoop, which is an informational lecture series that highlights community organizations to community members, and Julie Zorn was named as Ottumwa’s volunteer of the year.

The other area Main Street program that was recognized during the celebration was Bloomfield Main Street, which attained the $10 million local investment benchmark.

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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