Dear Chamber Supporters:
 
I hope all dads had a good Father’s Day last Sunday…mine was very relaxing. I slept in, we watched church online and in the afternoon I took a nap while watching the Royals…that was perfect for me. We did have a birthday party Sunday evening….Evelyn turned 5 (pictures here). Five year old birthday parties are the best. It was fun sharing Father’s Day with my now 5-year old granddaughter…she starts kindergarten this fall – hard to believe!!
 
Café/Coffee/Cocktails:
 
I continue to be excited about the Halloren Building at 401 S. Main Street…Josh Walker is the owner. This is an amazing building project happening in our downtown. Named for the person who originally built the building, it was constructed in 1923 after a fire took the previous building on this site. Here is a picture as it sits today…and here is a rendering of what it will be when Josh completes his project. Josh plans a combination of retail, services and a restaurant with the upstairs being converted to housing…the current plan even includes space for an art gallery. All sounds pretty awesome doesn’t it? For years this building has played an important role in the economic vitality of our downtown. The ground floor has been a grocery store and professional building and the upstairs was formerly a new car dealership and most recently garment manufacturing…the upstairs has been vacated since back in the 1970s. I remember when Mode-O-Day was upstairs and a major employer in Ottawa…I believe they made jeans. You can see in the rendering Josh is restoring the canted corner at the northwest point of the building…I also remember when it was opened like this formerly. This project does a great job of restoring an important economic asset in downtown while at the same time, respecting the historical integrity of our Main Street. Here are some pictures of the ground floor construction and here are pictures of the upstairs as it is today. You can see the ramp which was used to get new cars from the ground up to the car dealership on the second floor. I also love the view of downtown from the vantage point of the upstairs…here are a couple of pictures facing north on Main Street. We are lucky to have a local developer willing to invest in our local economy and downtown…lead on Josh!!
 
Good Publicity:
 
Ottawa and Franklin County were again recognized on a regional platform…you can read the story here. The Destination Travel Network visited with Susan Radar at our local Visitor’s Center and produced the blog post…the conversation was inspired because they noticed the large number of clicks Franklin County “Sports & Recreation/Cycling” and “Parks & Nature/Trails” are receiving. I think locally we take for granted what an asset our tails have become. As our society continues to urbanize, families and individuals are searching for activities in the great outdoors…in Franklin County we have this in spades. This community has invested in the infrastructure of our trails for 15 years now…starting with designating bike lanes and pedestrian ways, building play pods along the trail, constructing the Teen Park on the trail. Now we are seeing private investment pick up with the opening of Ottawa Bike and Trail, Not Lost Brewery, The Bottle House, the Historic Post Office and several Bed & Breakfast establishments…not to mention downtown housing which is beginning to flourish. The building of Legacy Square is the culmination to date of years of trail improvements. Next week Wynndee Lee, Susan Radar and I are giving a presentation to Communities with Trails…sponsored by the Sunflower Foundation; Ottawa is the location of the gathering so other communities can see firsthand our efforts.
 
Legacy Square:
 
It has been a good week of progress on Legacy Square…finally when the weather halfway cooperates. I heard on Kansas City television this week that so far we have had rain or snow on 48% of all the days in 2019…I know all contractors and farmers will not argue this statement! The structural steel on the 3 smaller covered canopies was completed this week, the storm piping is done as is waterline establishment. The electrical installation has begun in earnest. There as just a few foundations left to pour…the bridge abutments and the sign pedestal. Here are some pictures of this week’s work. Next week expect the completion of the curbs and gutters along Walnut Street and continued work installing all the electrical services.
 
The order has been placed for the Legacy Bricks, but we are still having calls requesting them. If you missed out on the first round we are in the process of getting a second order ready…the bricks will cost more because the volume of the order will be considerably smaller. The Legacy Bricks are now $120.00 for a 4” x 8” brick and $200.00 for an 8” x 8” brick. You can pay for those respectively by clicking here…$120 4″ x 8″ and $200 8″ x 8″ (and of course you can call the Chamber and we can help you make your purchase – 785.242.1000).
 
Chautauqua Festival:
 
It’s hard to believe the 4th of July is less than 2 weeks away…I’m getting excited for our Chautauqua Festival. Tim Van Leiden and Rocky Evans picked up the fireworks this week from St. Joe, Missouri…we have them safely stored. Final planning arrangements for the festival are in the process…trying to think of all the things we haven’t thought of for a first time event. Here is a flier listing the day’s activities…all in Forest Park. It’s also not too late to make a donation…if you would like to donate you can do so by clicking here.
 
Loma Vista Nursery:
 
Here’s another feel good story…you can read it here and watch the video. Loma Vista, the big nursery grower in southeast Ottawa (located at the former rock quarry) donated landscaping to the Old Depot Museum…and their interns did the installation and planting of the plants. The flower beds were in need of a rework…the interns called it from Ditch Lilies to Dream Landscape. Loma Vista is a major local employer employing 70 workers and additionally participates as great corporate citizen. They are donating all the landscaping to Legacy Square which makes them one of the larger donors…landscaping is what makes a location feel welcoming and gives it a great sense of space and place. It is also expensive but well worth it. It’s awesome Loma Vista is willing to help the community with projects like these. Thanks to all the employees at LV!!
 
Time for me to run…busy day ahead with a busier week next week. Cherry and I have Royals tickets for Saturday afternoon…I love a Saturday afternoon game – great way to relax. We are also babysitting grandkids this weekend…I’m sure I’ll have some pictures for you. Have a relaxing weekend!
 
Talk to you next week…
 
Onward ~ John
 
John Coen
President/CEO
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce
785-242-1000