Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress
On January 1, 2020, it became official. Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, or GOPIP, officially launched as the oversight authority for all non-governmental economic development activities in Ottumwa and Wapello County. This includes commercial, industrial, and retail attraction, retention and expansion; downtown initiatives including restoration, beautification and housing; visitor experiences, hospitality and convention attraction.
Think of it as a combination of Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce, Ottumwa Economic Development Corp, Greater Ottumwa Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Main Street Ottumwa functions, because essentially, that’s exactly what it is.
This merger makes sense in today’s environment. The simple act of knowing there is one place to call for information on all areas of economic development--whether manufacturing, retail, destination marketing, or downtown redevelopment-- is significant to investors. And, fostering collaboration instead of autonomy breeds more innovative ways of addressing challenges, while reducing duplication and expense.
What does the merger mean?
As a result of the merger, there is a single organization that works together each and every day to develop strategies for enhancing economic development in our community. GOPIP success means:
- A sense of teamwork
- Avoidance of duplication
- Streamlined communication and outreach
- Access to greater resources
- Shared vision for the future
- Measurable success metrics
As for the individual organizations that now comprise GOPIP, there will be some changes:
- Ottumwa Economic Development Corp. and Ottumwa Chamber of Commerce will take steps to legally dissolve and transfer both human and financial capital to the new organization. That said, the responsibilities of each organization remain the same.
- Main Street Ottumwa and Greater Ottumwa Convention & Visitors Bureau will not merge assets, but will remain partners under the oversight of the GOPIP leadership. By choice, MSO and CVB will retain their boards of directors, and maintain their own funding streams.
- All existing staff will remain in roles of the GOPIP structure, although titles and some shifting of responsibilities could change based on knowledge, expertise, and skill.
What about membership?
Effective January 1, 2020, dues will be paid to Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress and used where the need is greatest based on priorities and a carefully drafted work plan with key performance metrics. While there is no obligation to change your existing commitment, GOPIP will ask that you consider how your contribution will realistically support the new organization and its economic development efforts.
In return, GOPIP will offer membership benefits specifically designed to engage investors through:
- Investment level recognition
- Exclusive special events
- Enhanced marketing strategies
- Feedback opportunities regarding organizational performance
- Engagement with executive leadership
Main Street Ottumwa and CVB are not supported by membership and dues and therefore are not affected by this change.
As you can imagine, orchestrating a merger is not for the faint of heart. It takes time, patience, trust, respect and the ability to articulate a new vision for the community. Our goal with this merger is, among other things, is that the new organization will be greater than the sum of its parts.