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City of Ottumwa Launches Blocks to Neighborhoods Program to Fund Neighborhood Exterior Property Upgrades

Written by on March 21, 2022

Ottumwa, Iowa – The City of Ottumwa is launching a new exterior home improvement incentive program to encourage residents to come together as neighborhoods to improve the curb appeal of their properties. The Blocks to Neighborhoods program will reimburse property owners up to $2,500.00 for exterior property upgrades. In addition, the program hopes to strengthen neighborhoods by bringing at least three neighbors together to complete the exterior home improvement projects.

“This program is about making a big difference block-by-block. Working together on a project that changes the entire neighborhood raises values and builds community. A neighborhood is more than a street and some houses. When our neighborhoods are vibrant places where people look out for each other and collaborate, they’re safer and happier. People have a sense of place and pride, and they stay in Ottumwa longer.”

Applications will be reviewed through a competitive grant process, with weight given to the location of properties, number of neighbors participating, and overall impact of exterior upgrades. If selected, residents will receive a 2:1 reimbursement for approved exterior upgrades to their property. Reimbursement will be provided to property owners after completing their project.

The Legacy Foundation has awarded $40,000 to the City to support the program, increasing their initial budget from $60,000 to $100,000 over two years. “We are excited to collaborate with the City of Ottumwa on this program designed to elevate our home values and strengthen neighborhoods.

This pool of funds will allow many property owners the opportunity to make those exterior improvements that may have been cost-prohibitive in the past or even develop vacant lots into community spaces – further improving the overall appearance and perception of those neighborhoods,” said Kelly Genners, Legacy Foundation President & CEO.

Applications for the program will be accepted by the City of Ottumwa from April 1 – April 30. Approved projects will be notified on May 13, 2022.