Learning to Build a Better Block

The Better Block

For many of us, it is difficult to envision what something will look like or understand how something will work without physically seeing and touching it.  The great thing about the Build a Better Block project was that participants were able to do just that.  Community members were able to “vision” what a new streetscape might look like, enjoy a kids play areas added to downtown, appreciate art work affixed to the fronts and sides of buildings, ride their bikes in new bike lanes, relax in colorful new furniture and spend money in several new pop up shops.    If you missed it, you can visit the Main Street Ottumwa page to see images from the event.

Special thanks to all the volunteers who helped with the “build” on October 12th which included our own staff from the Foundation, the Ottumwa Leadership Academy, Welcome & Connect Services, Rippling Waters Property Development and the Market on Main.  We loved working alongside Main Street Iowa folks from across the state and other community members that care about making their downtown an even more vibrant place.  And after the work was done, we all celebrated with a downtown block party, complete with food and music.  And the next night, even more fun in the Ottumwa Theater with the first ever “Rock the Block” concert.

But remember, it isn’t quite over yet.  There is still the opportunity to tell us what you thought about what you saw and experienced.  What interventions do you think should be made permanent?  Were there elements that you didn’t like?  Any and all feedback is appreciated, please take the short survey in the link below.

This project was made possible by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts and support from the National Association of Realtors, South East Iowa Regional Board of Realtors, Ottumwa Regional Legacy Foundation, City of Ottumwa and the University of Iowa Business Leadership Network, Main Street Ottumwa, Better Block Foundation, Iowa Economic Development Authority, and the Area 15 Regional Planning Commission.   What a great team to work with!