Ottumwa’s Mission 500 Receives Award


The City of Ottumwa and the partner’s Mission 500 received the Best Practice Award at the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter Conference on October 13, 2022.

Each year, the American Planning Association Iowa Chapter gives the award to one project which emphasizes results and demonstrates how innovative and state-of-the-art planning methods and practices help to create communities of lasting value. A jury of Nebraska planning professionals selected Mission 500 for recognition. The City of Ottumwa, Ottumwa Legacy Foundation, Greater Ottumwa Partners in Progress, Rippling Waters, and RDG Planning and Design shared recognition for the award. Community Development Director Zach Simonson said that the Mission 500 group came together from the community meetings held around the 2022 Ottumwa Housing Plan.

“That’s a key element of the planning process. If you bring everyone to the table, the process of planning builds the social infrastructure to accomplish the goal. We didn’t lose the momentum.”Zach Simonson, Community Development Director

RDG Planning and Design, a national planning firm with an office in Des Moines, served as a consultant on the housing plan. The 2022 Ottumwa Housing Plan was completed with support from the Ottumwa Legacy Foundation. The foundation has also hosted and facilitated the Mission 500 meetings.

“I think in the past there has been a feeling that completing a study ultimately meant another plan put on the shelf. This award is validation for our community and symbolizes that we are interested in action; completing the appropriate research and planning as well as implementing those recommendations needed to bring housing success in our community.”Ottumwa Legacy Foundation President Kelly Genners

The award comes during Community Planning Month. Every October, communities across the country acknowledge Community Planning Month as an opportunity to celebrate the efforts and accomplishments made by city planning staff, elected officials, volunteer members of boards and commissions, regional planners, economic development partners, and the general public. At the October 18th City Council meeting, the Mayor issued a proclamation for Community Planning Month. This year’s annual APA Chapter Conference was hosted at the Bridge View Center in Ottumwa.

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