Canteen Alley to be completed in December

The construction is expected to be completed by the end of December./KTVO.

The Canteen Alley Project in downtown Ottumwa is in full swing and causing some difficulties for local businesses.

Right now, the alley between Market and Court Streets has been completely uprooted. The construction began at the end of August.

KTVO has been in downtown Ottumwa for over 60 years, sharing a parking lot with the Canteen Alley. But, with this construction, things have been a bit of a nuisance.

“We’ve lost our parking, they’ve shut off our gas, we got big piles of gravel and dirt all over the place. It has not been pleasant; construction process is never pleasant. But, we understand that when it’s all said and done, we’re going to have this great thing in downtown Ottumwa. It’s going to look great, it’s going to be a central feature for people to come and enjoy, so ultimately it’s worth the hassle it is over the next couple of months,” said Assistant News Director Andy Grove.

For the Canteen Restaurant, for which the project is named after, they’ve been having a lack of customers lately. General Manager Lindsey Newland says although the construction workers have been accommodating and made sure there’s still a path to the front door, that path changes day-by-day, deterring customers. Newland says despite all this, the pros still out-weigh the cons.

“What we hope to get out of this is just to create a better atmosphere, so the Canteen can be a special highlight. We really do bring a lot of travelers to Ottumwa, and so that way we can put on a really good face for the rest of the surrounding community,” said Newland.

Genus Landscape Architect is the group re-designing the alley. Principal Landscape Architect Bret Douglas told KTVO the renovations will provide residents with a safe, walkable space.

“This is just another one of those corridors where we can create that amenity to reactivate the alley for pedestrians, a place to congregate, to eat lunch.” said Douglas.

The alley will have better lighting and will feature two public art pieces. Douglas says the project should be completed by the end of December, with the art pieces coming in the spring. Until then, businesses like KTVO and the Canteen Restaurant will just have to make-do.

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