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      Upstairs Downtown event showcases progress to Ottumwa's Main Street

      Inside the Ottumwa Leadership Academy, which will be ready to officially open in a matter of weeks.

      Several Ottumwa property owners and their tenants had the doors of their work and living spaces on display for everyone in the community to see, and most of the action took place upstairs.

      ??We??ve been in the process of going through and rehabbing the whole building and it??s completed now,?? Tim Schwartz, Owner of apartments on 332 E. Main St. said. ??We were fortunate enough to get Tim Ware with Appanoose Rapids to open up the restaurant downstairs.??

      But Schwartz never lost sight of his original vision to have housing above the restaurant, and today that vision is a reality.

      ??We laid it out into four units, and we got it completed over the last six months and we were able to get them rented right away,?? Schwartz said.

      According to a Main Street Board Member, the demand for city dwelling is attracting commercial business to the area as well.

      ??There have been studies that have shown that and we believe that to be true, since the housing has increased here, businesses are moving here, and the response for being here is all very positive,?? Deni Hotek said

      Included for the first year to Upstairs Downtown was the Ottumwa Leadership Academy.

      ??One of the strategic plans is revitalization of downtown, so we purchased this building in support of that,?? Hollie Tometich, Executive Director of the Ottumwa Leadership Academy said. ??Another strategic goal is leadership and so that was really why they wanted to place the Ottumwa Leadership Academy here in support of Main Street and what they??re doing today. We decided to open it and let people take a glance at what we have.??

      People working closely with Main Street Ottumwa say the refurbishment of the downtown area is on the cusp of a major breakthrough.

      ??I think that we??re gonna be surprised in the next year/ year in a half where our downtown will be.?? Hotek said.