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Construction has Various Impacts on Main Street Businesses

By Aaryn Frazier, June 11, 2018

Ottumwa is a hub for road construction and repair this summer season, but what does this mean for downtown and Main Street businesses? Local business owners have a bit to say on the effects of the construction.

Fred Zesiger, Main Street Ottumwa Executive Director, said each project is different and takes a different amount of time and patience.

“Obviously, there is a lot going on, and there has been for the last three, four, five years,” Zesiger said. “But it does make business better in the long run despite the differences between restaurants and retail.”

There are still stark differences between restaurants on Main Street. Two businesses, separated by the Jefferson Viaduct and the construction there, have opposing views on the impact the construction has on their markets. Appanoose Rapids and Breadeaux had different experiences while the bridge was shut down.

“We have found that if people want to eat at Appanoose Rapids, they will find a way to get here,” said Natalie and Dale Dommer, owners.

Meanwhile Breadeaux’s owner, Greg Patton, noted a loss in income while the construction closed the bridge.

“We tried a little marketing in delivery, but we just have to fight the labor and wait to address it when it’s all over,” Patton said. “We have to deal right now. Ride the tide.”

Construction all over Ottumwa has made some lives more difficult than others, but Zesiger said next year will be the real test. There will be owner and property manager meetings at 111 East Main on Tuesday, June 12. To include as many people as possible there will be three different times, 7:30 a.m., 11:30 a.m., and 5:30 p.m. Meetings will discuss the streetscape plans for Main Street next year and Zesiger invites anyone who wants to know more.

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