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Ottumwa budgets $1 million for 5-year demolition plan

During its regular meeting this week, the Ottumwa City Council finalized a $400,000 grant agreement with the Legacy Foundation for the removal of placarded houses/KTVO

The City of Bridges is doubling the amount of houses it demolishes each year.

During its regular meeting this week, the council finalized a grant agreement with the Legacy Foundation. The city now has an additional $400,000 to remove placarded houses in Ottumwa.

Ottumwa will contribute about $600,000, which brings the project's total to $1 million over the next five years. The goal is to demolish at least 20 houses each year.

"What we're trying to do is not only take the ones that are the worst of the worst, but also be mindful of the fact that we're also adding some on the back end, it's not like this stops," said City Administrator Andy Morris. "I think this is a good effort to try and get these under control."

The city is also thinking about hiring Des Moines-based Blackbird Investments to help re-develop some of Ottumwa's deteriorating neighborhoods. Last month, Blackbird purchased the old St. Joseph hospital from the city, and is currently furthering its plans for housing development at the site.

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