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      Proposed city codes could change the face of downtown Ottumwa

      On Monday evening, the Ottumwa City Council spoke about revising codes within the city; mostly focused on commercial buildings.

      These codes would help bring more curb appeal to several buildings in the downtown corridor.

      "The maintained codes should give us some additional tools to enforce and try to get some improvements made on those buildings and bring them up to at least some minimum maintenance standards," said Jody Gates, Director of Health, Inspections and Solid Waste for the City of Ottumwa.

      "This code would give owners up to six months to remove the boards and put glass back in the windows and put glass back into the doors. It also requires buildings to be painted so they can't have bunch of chipping and peeling paint," Gates said.

      Gates says that the council will have to look at the new codes and pass them a total of three times, therefore enforcement would start in early 2013.

      What we have discussed internally is that we would want to look at buildings where the department has already received a number of complaints about them. We would want to start with those first and then just move through the community," Gates said.