2019 was a Great Year!
Tuesday, December 17, 2019
This past year was one of tremendous growth and progress for Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress and our entire community. And as our name suggests, each partner contributed enormously with the progress we have made.
Here are some highlights:
Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation
The Ottumwa Economic Development Corporation (ODEC) works to maintain and grow the overall economic health of Ottumwa and Wapello County by expanding and retaining business and industry, assisting in developing a quality workforce and supporting vibrant community improvement projects which will inspire additional growth.
During the past months, OEDC has worked tirelessly on a variety of initiatives to benefit the residents and businesses in Ottumwa:
- Received Site Certification status for Helgerson Flats, an 82-acre industrial site in Ottumwa, Iowa. This two-year, $122,000 project is directed towards target industries such as: Food & Beverage Processing, Automotive Supply Chain, Warehouse & Distribution, and Machinery Manufacturing. Priced to sell at the appraised value. Ottumwa marks the 24th certified site in the State of Iowa.
- Negotiated the purchase of land belonging to the Iowa National Guard for the purpose of reducing traffic and increasing maneuverability in the newly-expanded industrial park.
- Awarded $80,000 from Iowa Dept. of Transportation to study the option of moving a rail spur from downtown to a more industrialized location, in hopes of growing opportunity for both Ottumwa redevelopment and enhanced services for Burlington Junction Rail Yard.
Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce
The Ottumwa Area Chamber of Commerce (OACC) is a non-profit, member-driven organization that promotes, supports and advocates for area businesses to encourage positive growth.
The past year’s achievements include:
- Grew membership 20%.
- Retained 90% of 2018 membership.
- Revived the Home & Garden Show to rave reviews.
- Added a quarterly Breakfast Bytes program to introduce educational and marketing opportunities.
- Added a temporary ice-skating rink to Holiday Nights ‘n Lights, increasing attendance by nearly 15%.
Main Street Ottumwa
Main Street Ottumwa strives to make Southeast Iowa a hub for arts, entertainment, commerce, residential and business opportunities. They do so by capitalizing on the unique identity, character, and assets of the downtown area.
This past year, Main Street Ottumwa was busy working with community members and businesses as follows:
- Grants Received for District-
- $100,000 Principal Financial Canteen Alley, phase 2
- $50,000 National Endowment for the Arts, Our Town Project
- $47,000 Main Street Iowa Challenge grant for 105-107 E Main, 2 facades
- $500,000 Community Development Block grant, Upper Story Program, 5 apartments in 4 buildings
- $10,000 Iowa Arts Council grant, Alley Art
- 13 building and 22 facades completed ( total project cost $1,189,500)
- Parking Study with survey data and recommendations to the City
- Working with property & business owners and Downtown partners on preparing for Streetscape project
- (3 blocks of East Main Street Scape and underground infrastructure work)
- Several Promotional events in the District including special events and business promotions- (Ladies Night Out, Third Thursdays, Central Park Cinema, Holiday Open Houses, Christmas Tree Lighting, Upstairs/Downtown, Around Town/Downtown Holiday Tour, Walk on Art Street, History Walk) These activities change attitudes, show our progress, build life-long memories, and raise program funds.
- Created a Self-Sustaining Municipal Improvement District
Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitors Bureau
The Greater Ottumwa Convention and Visitors Bureau markets the area as a destination for consumers and businesses alike with the goal of expanding new business activity, increasing overnight visits and tax revenues, and increase the quality of life for area residents.
Here are some examples:
- Increased hotel revenue by an average of 11.4% and hotel occupancy by an average of 6.9% from 2018.
- Designed and implemented a new website that features enhanced visuals, more sales-oriented content, improved navigation and added greater functionality with mobile devices.
- Doubled social media reach with the implementation of a comprehensive social media marketing program that features Facebook influencer posts and Instagram thematic campaigns.
- Introduced a free customer service and destination advocacy program for Ottumwa business market.
- Developed regional partnerships with neighboring communities including Pella, Fairfield, Oskaloosa, Van Buren County, Bloomfield and Centerville, sharing itineraries for weekend getaways, and targeting niche markets such as food, history and recreation.
- Welcomed the Iowa-Missouri Ford Club, the Iowa Young Professionals Association and Theological Conferences in 2019.
- Partnering to bring an adjoining hotel property at Bridge View Center.
- Spearheaded the first Major League Eating Contest in Ottumwa.