Main Street Ottumwa Recieves ANOTHER Challenge Grant
Friday, November 08, 2019
The former Iowa National Bank Building is the latest in a long line of locations to be awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through Main Street Ottumwa (MSO) for facade improvements. OEDC is proud to be a matching funding partner to the project with an allocation of $5,000. Only 14 of the 26 applications were approved.
On November 7th,IEDA named MSO the recipient of a $75,000 challenge grant to restore the property at 219 E. Main, next door to the Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress building. Since 2011, CDBG funding has assisted 41 facade improvements in the 100 through 300 blocks of Ottumwa's downtown, creating a 24% increase in assessed valuation to $4,778,054.
Looking at the former, current, and proposed redevelopment concept, its easy to note how urban renewal in the mid-20th Century was devastating to downtown Ottumwa's building stock. Many buildings were "modernized" with sheet metal slipcovers concealing the upper floors and simple picture-window aluminum storefronts, while many more were razed in favor of surface parking. What buildings remain generally had seen a steady decline up until about 2011. It was then that Main Street Ottumwa, the City of Ottumwa, and several other organizations began pursuing grants to augment private investments in the remaining urban fabric.
Before Main Street Ottumwa was established in 2006, downtown Ottumwa was subjected to decades of neglect and disinvestment. Though it took several years after the establishment of Main Street Ottumwa to build real support and momentum for downtown revitalization, the last seven years have seen a rapid and complete turnaround in the attitudes toward investments in the MSO district. From city and economic development officials to residents to business owners, investment in the downtown core has shifted from wishful thinking to an expectation.