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Upstairs Downtown: Tours of historic Ottumwa properties, revitalized

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 9:30 PM CDT
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OTTUMWA, Iowa (KYOU) - The 13th Annual Upstairs Downtown shows off a selection of historic Downtown Ottumwa buildings getting repurposed. Main Street Ottumwa had 70 people show up to tour the properties this weekend.

There are 108 apartment buildings along Main Street and downtown Ottumwa. The Upstairs Downtown event explored some historic buildings getting an facelift, like Market on Main, the Iowa National Bank, the First National Bank, and others. Several of these buildings are planned to have apartment housing.

That’s something Main Street Ottumwa’s Director, Fred Zesiger, says is good for these existing, vacant buildings downtown. “One of the things we’re really short on in the community is housing. And quality housing. And this is an opportunity for that. Some of these spaces are also for businesses. But, if you have a building, why aren’t we occupying the whole thing?”

New for this year was a virtual tour, so people out of town could see the buildings as well. Zesiger was happy with the turnout online, and says they’ll look into repeating it with next year’s showcase.

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