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      Kohl's building on track to open in September

      Drivers on Route 34 in Ottumwa over the last few weeks will have noticed not only construction on Wildwood Road beginning, but construction rapidly progressing on the new Kohl's building.

      The building is on schedule to be completed on September 1st, and the 55,000 square foot store is on par to open later that month.

      The location was chosen based on traffic and the economic value of improving the property, which, before construction began, was often flooded and of little use to the city.

      "[It's] taking a piece of property that [had] very little tax base and creating a significant tax base for the benefit of the city, county and school district," said Joe Helfenberger, Ottumwa City Administrator.

      Wildwood Road is being raised four feet to prevent future flooding, and the Kohl's building required infrastructure such as drainage and a water detention for runoff that made for a more complicated construction than the Pizza Ranch just across the street.

      But city officials think the building will be well worth the wait and effort.

      "We have about a 36 percent retail leakage within the community, as far as the clothing items, so we're looking that this store will help shore up a lot of the reasons why people would shop out of town and it would add to keeping people in town to benefit the whole community," Helfenberger said.

      The construction on Wildwood is scheduled to be finished around a month before Kohl's opens.