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WATCH: Better Block Group Helping to Improve Downtown

By Ellis Codjoe, July 25, 2017

Dozens of Ottumwans gathered at Market on Main, Monday, to discuss an ongoing challenge: How to Spiff up Ottumwa’s downtown to make it more appealing for locals and visitors alike.

Jason Roberts, head of the “Better Block” group, made a presentation in a public forum on Main Street in Ottumwa, where he shared his group’s history.

Better Block originated in Dallas, where they managed to transform what was said to be “the bad part of town”. They took its dull and unpleasant street corners and avenues, and made them into vibrant, attractive hubs complete with biking paths, dog parks, outdoor seating for cafes, book shops and more.

Better Block then took to traveling the world and assisting other communities in making their areas more pedestrian friendly and attractive for spending time in.

The Ottumwa Better Block Program is launching a survey to better understand the needs and wants of the community. Visit to help Better Block make Ottumwa’s Main Street a sight for sore eyes.


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