On October 29th, Ottumwa celebrated the completion of the Streetscape project on Main Street. During the ribbon cutting celebration, Kelly Genners, President/CEO of the Legacy Foundation, spoke to what the Streetscape Project represents for Ottumwa, “This project is sending a clear message on behalf of our community, that having a downtown that is safe and accessible to everyone is important to us” and that these improvements show “that we care about making a good impression to those looking to relocate here or those visiting our City.” The celebration also featured speeches from Main Street Ottumwa’s Executive Director Fred Zesiger, Mayor Tom Lazio, Main Street Iowa Coordinator Michael Wagler and included the presentation of the Iowa Small Business Community of the Year Award from the US Small Business Administration.
This celebration is a long time coming for the Foundation, who in 2015, commissioned a streetscape study for the downtown. Seeing the opportunity to transform Ottumwa’s Main Street into a place that was pedestrian friendly, visually appealing and that also fostered a business-friendly environment, the Legacy Foundation began convening partners in 2017 to begin the process of design and garnering support for the project.
The transformation to the 100, 200 and 300 blocks of Main Street are nothing short of remarkable. Improvements include replacement of underground infrastructure, new sidewalks, streets, permeable pavers, bike racks, benches, planting areas, trees, and public art. As part of the Foundation’s “Revitalization” initiative, nearly $2 million was contributed to the streetscape project. Other financial partners included the City of Ottumwa, Ottumwa Waterworks and the Iowa Economic Development.