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      Ottumwa Parks Department works to renovate city fountains

      Fountain at Memorial Park in Ottumwa

      The Ottumwa City Parks Department has several improvement projects in two city parks that they hope to complete in the next few months.

      The fountain in Ballingall park was built in the late 1940s to early 1950s and now barely works. The park board has raised $33,000 to go towards renovating the fountain, but still needs around $30,000 to finish the project.

      "Right now the city planner, the city engineer and myself are working on submitting a grant to FEMA for possible FEMA funding since Ballingall Park is in the flood plain and FEMA may be able to give us some money to help renovate the fountain," said Gene Rathje, Ottumwa Parks Director.

      Rathje said he thinks its likely they will be able to get funding help from FEMA, but anyone who would like to donate to the project can do so as well.

      The department is also working on renovations in Memorial Park. Last year, a donation from Cargill helped fund the repaving of the shelter and the installation of a fountain. This year, that money will continue to be used for improvements, namely a silt retention pond above the big pond to help clear and control the water.

      "The pond at Memorial Park has a big problem with muddy water and silt, it's filling it with silt quickly because of a variety of streams and ravines that are by the pond up there, so after we get that silt retention pond built, we're going to do some work on the upper end of the pond," Rathje said.

      A light kit for the Memorial Park fountain will be installed this winter, and Rathje said, depending on funding, they hope to complete the projects by the fall.