Parks still assets in the Ottumwa community

Many national parks are in need of big-time improvements, but there's little funding to do so, causing a conflict for those who want even more parks to be established.

At the city level, though, parks are well worth the effort.

About five percent--or $700,000--of Ottumwa's budget goes into upkeep and improvements to Ottumwa's parks.

Cities with parks tend to have a better quality of life and lead to economic development, making them assets to the community.

"People in Ottumwa love parks," said Ottumwa Parks Director Gene Rathje. "They love the green space and they love the opportunity to use the picnic shelters for family reunions and the Jimmy Jones shelter--they love the trail system and they love the overall nature-oriented green space of the parks in Ottumwa."

Rathje says the department will continue to make improvements to the parks as the funds are available, which this year will include installing a handicap accessible playground in Ottumwa Park.