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      Incentive offered for contractor willing to renovate downtown Ottumwa building

      The city of Ottumwa is offering a $50,000 incentive to any contractor willing to revamp a building downtown that desperately needs some work.

      The three-story brick building at 117 and 119 Main Street previously received no bids for revitalization. However, the city is hoping this incentive will boost interest.

      In addition, the Legacy Foundation will be matching the incentive with another $50,000 and if a grant application the city has sent is approved, the potential contractor could see even more money go towards the project from the state of Iowa.

      Ottumwa city officials are hoping the building can be revamped, since it's more cost-efficient than demolition and it would match the city's goals for downtown revitalization.

      "They'd have to sign a development agreement agreeing to make improvements on the building and get it back on the tax roll," said Ottumwa City Administrator Joe Helfenberger. "Having the building improved and part of the downtown fits in the overall downtown plan the city has, as well as other development groups and main street's plans, rather than have an empty lot that may sit that way for a long, long time."

      The building needs some restructuring, as well as a new roof and flooring. The entire process of revitalization will need to be completed over a three-year period.

      Helfenberger urges that if anyone has any interest at all, to contact him at City Hall or contact the Ottumwa City Clerk, and they can work with potential plans for development.

      Developers have until 2 p.m. on March 11 to submit their proposals.

      You can contact Ottumwa City Hall at 641-683-0600.