Collaboration and Impactful Events Pace Ottumwa on the Path to Success

Collaboration and Impactful Events Pace Ottumwa on the Path to Success Main Photo

13 Feb 2024


2023 was a momentous year for Ottumwa. The collaboration of numerous groups and individuals on various economic and community development initiatives offered a showcase for what is possible when a community cares for each other and has its sights set on the future. Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress (GOPIP) is proud to be an economic and community development organization working with dedicated stakeholders toward a vibrant and thriving Ottumwa region. Read through the achievements of 2023 below and get ready for an exciting 2024!

Economic Development Initiatives

Perhaps the most significant achievement by GOPIP throughout 2023 was the launch of the Greater Ottumwa Development Foundation, an independently governed 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. The Foundation will assist in creating, retaining, and reinvesting resources that increase economic opportunities, enhance the business and industrial community, and improve the quality of life for the citizens of the Greater Ottumwa Region.

“The formation of the Foundation is monumental for us and the community,” said Marc Roe, Executive Director of GOPIP and the Foundation. “Efforts associated with it will greatly improve the efficiency, development, and acceleration of economic growth and employment and business opportunities in the area through its efforts.”

The Foundation will be governed by an independent board of directors consisting of Christy Grove (President), Tom Lazio (Vice President), Phil Rath (Secretary/Treasurer), Ann Youngman (Director), and Mike Sprau (Director).

Investors’ interest can be directed to Marc Roe at 641-682-3465 or Typical investment levels include:

  • Visionary: Donations totaling $100,000+
  • Torchbearer: Donations $10,000 - $99,999
  • Benefactor: Donations $2,500 - $9,999
  • Facilitator: Donations $500 - $2,499
  • Patron: Donations $499 and under

A significant milestone was the collaborative effort to purchase the former St. Joseph Hospital property by the Greater Ottumwa Development Foundation, the Legacy Foundation, Wapello County and the City Of Ottumwa. The property fits into the area’s needs as defined by the 2022 Ottumwa Housing Study, which outlined a ten-year demand for at least 500 new housing units across all price points.

“The ten-acre parcel is situated in a highly desirable residential area and can serve as a catalyst for new housing growth in the city,” said Roe.

A third significant economic development was the completion of interior wayfinding signage throughout the area. Through private funding, GOPIP and the Ottumwa Wayfinding Committee installed more than 21 signs throughout the community to guide visitors to various business districts and points of interest.  The remaining locations will be installed at the end of the 2024 construction season.

Community Involvement Events

Economic development goes hand-in-hand with community development. GOPIP sponsored numerous events through 2023 to augment opportunities for all in the region to better the community. Several of the momentous events are listed below.

The First Annual Lean In Women in Leadership Conference was celebrated on International Women’s Day at the Bridge View Center on March 8. The diversity, equity, and inclusion event featured several breakout sessions, a lunch panel discussing “Overcoming the Past to Be the Future,” and a Spotlight Keynote by award-winning humor author Jenny Lawson.

“We have worked very diligently to ensure that we are bringing not only an impactful event to our region but one with some of the most successful leaders in our state from which those in attendance can learn,” said Roe. “Our goal with this conference is for those up-and-comers in attendance and future generations alike to gain power and knowledge from this experience and forge a path to success in their careers and communities.”

Talk Ottumwa!, GOPIP’s podcast, included a six-part series on Youth Mental Health in 2023. Listen to these and other fascinating topics here.

Holiday Nights 'N Lights continued for the 19th year at Greater Ottumwa Park. The festive light spectacle included over 80 lighted displays and a wreath photo op across 24 acres.

Other 2023 community events included Lemonade Day, Greater Ottumwa Rodeo, the Annual Golf Classic, and the Annual Banquet, and promise to continue the fun for persons of all ages in 2024.

A Peek at 2024

While 2023 was filled with fantastic movement for the community, it sets the stage for an equally impressive 2024. 

The second annual Lean In Women in Leadership Conference is on March 8. Further information and tickets can be found here. 

Development is primed at the Helgerson Flats Industrial Center in 2024 due to the Transportation Initiative by the Iowa Department of Transportation to provide access to the property. Learn more about the 82-acre industrially-zoned property here. 

The 312 East Alta Vista Housing Redevelopment Project, previously the St. Joseph Hospital site, is expected to progress in 2024. The 312 E Alta Vista Partnership Group will select Request for Proposals (RFP) in the first quarter.

GOPIP is proud to lead the growth and development of such a fantastic and welcoming community. Contact us today to get involved or learn how we can help your success!