The City of Ottumwa and the partners Mission 500 received the Best Practice Award at the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter Conference on October 13, 2022.
Each year, the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter gives the award to one project which emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices help to create communities of lasting value. A jury of Nebraska planning professionals selected Mission 500 for recognition. The City of Ottumwa, Ottumwa Legacy Foundation, Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, Rippling Waters and RDG Planning and Design shared recognition for the award. Community Development Director Zach Simonson said that the Mission 500 group came together from the community meetings held around the 2022 Ottumwa Housing Plan. “That’s a key element of the planning process,” said Simonson. “If you bring everyone to the table, the process of planning builds the social infrastructure to accomplish the goal. We didn’t lose the momentum.”
RDG Planning and Design, a national planning firm with an office in Des Moines, served as consultant on the housing plan. The 2022 Ottumwa Housing Plan was completed with support from the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation. The foundation has also hosted and facilitated the Mission 500 meetings. “I think in the past there has been a feeling that completing a study ultimately meant another plan put on the shelf,” said Foundation President Kelly Genners. “This award is validation for our community and symbolizes that we are interested in action; completing the appropriate research and planning as well as implementing those recommendations needed to bring housing success in our community”
The award comes during Community Planning Month. Every October, communities across the country acknowledge Community Planning Month as an opportunity to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments made by city planning staff, elected officials, volunteer members of boards and commissions, regional planners, economic development partners and the general public. At the October 18, 2022 City Council meeting, the Mayor will issue a proclamation for Community Planning Month. This year’s annual APA Chapter Conference was hosted at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.
Award Photo taken at APA Iowa Chapter Conference (Pictured: APA Iowa Chapter President Madeline Sturms, Community Development Director Zach Simonson, Newcomer Relations Coordinator Andy Maw, Ottumwa Legacy Foundation President Kelly Genners, RDG Urban Planner Charlie Cowell, Rippling Waters Executive Director Holly Berg and Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress Director Marc Roe).
Mission 500 Steering Committee:
Holly Berg, Rippling Waters
Chris Bowers, Area 15 Regional Planning Commission
Peggy Umlauf, Community 1st Credit Union
AJ Gevock, ReMax
Jeff Henderson, Indian Hills Community College
Zach Simonson & Russ Hull, City of Ottumwa
Jill Lane, Resilient Communities
Andy Maw, Welcome & Connect
Mike Sprau, South Ottumwa Savings Bank
Marc Roe, Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress
Krista Tedrow, South Central Iowa Workforce
Curt Hopkins, Hopkins Properties
Kelly Genners, Legacy Foundation
To access the 2022 Ottumwa Housing Study, click here.