ISU Students Lead Community Housing Discussion

The Foundation, in partnership with ISU Extension and Outreach, recently hosted a Community and Regional Planning class of sixteen students from Iowa State University.  The students were on hand to assist the community of Ottumwa in forming strategies around housing development.  The class, Public Participation and Planning, teaches undergraduate students methods and tools to engage the public in community planning.

Major employers discuss housing challenges

During the day, students facilitated seven focus groups at various locations in the downtown.  Focus group stakeholders included; major employers, realtors, lenders, landlords, builders & developers, community newcomers and individuals who work in Ottumwa but do not live in Ottumwa.  Questions were asked in reference to community perceptions and aspirations as well as questions specific to housing gaps, challenges and barriers to development.  The information and feedback secured during these sessions will be used in conjunction with other elements to develop a full comprehensive housing study by Iowa State.  “Our previous housing study is getting dated as it was completed in 2013,” stated Kelly Genners, Legacy VP of Programs.  “The material has been extremely useful for the community but it is time to do a deep dive into current conditions.”

A special thanks to all of individuals who participated in these focus groups and to Spark Tank and the Market on Main for hosting some of the sessions.  It was a pleasure to work with Dr. Tim Borich and his students.  We look forward to seeing the finished project of their efforts very soon!