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      Community art project unites Ottumwa as bulldogs

      The bulldog statues are part of a public art project to reflect pride in the Ottumwa community.

      Ottumwa is going to do the dogs.

      Or, to the bulldogs, that is. Eight 30-pound statues have been placed at businesses around town.

      Ottumwa High School students Madyson Feather and Alyssa Cash are spearheading the Make Ottumwa Beautiful, or MOB, project, along with Main Street Ottumwa. Each of the different businesses with a bulldog will work with them to come up with a unique design for their statue. Right now, there will be bulldog statues at the high school, the softball field, Appanoose Rapids, Hotel Ottumwa, SEIDA, the U.S. Bank location on Church Street and, if the Ottumwa City Council approves it, in central park.

      The hope of this public art project is that it will reflect the pride Ottumwa has in its community.

      "Public art, it's a little bit of a trend, but I think it also just says that you're investing in a small piece of beauty that says we collectively are bulldogs, this is who we are as a community," said Bob Untiedt, Executive Director of Main Street Ottumwa. "And it's fun that way, too."

      Next, the students and Main Street will ask the Ottumwa City Council for approval to install the bulldogs on the sidewalks. Untiedt expects the item to be on the council agenda sometime in June.

      If approved, it will take a few weeks for the finished, decorated bulldogs to appear around town.

      Main Street is hoping the project will be a success and can order more statues for additional Ottumwa businesses.