Dear Chamber Supporters:
Summer is moving along quickly…the 4th of July and the All-Star Game are both once again celebrated and over; and the heat is (finally) beginning to build in – albeit this is a cooler, wetter summer by most standards. Cherry and I have hardly watered any garden or flowers this year. I was at the High School this week…Kelly Whittaker gave me a tour of the Performing Arts Center under construction. The community will be amazed with this new facility! It looks huge on the outside…and just as big on the inside. I can’t wait for it to be completed…should be in late fall – October/November.
Kelly is in full back-to-school mode…first day of school is August 19 – only 5 weeks away. The Chamber is preparing to host our annual New Educator and Healthcare Professional luncheon on August 7…all are welcome to attend (call the Chamber to RSVP – cost of ticket $15.00) Every year we welcome the start of school by welcoming all new teachers as well as new healthcare professionals who have moved to our community during the last year. It’s a great way to meet new members of our community who are involved with educating our youth and taking care of us. All of this to highlight this summer has just flown by!
I want to say one last thank you to all who worked to provide and also those who attended this community independence celebration…we couldn’t have hoped for a more successful festival our first year out the gate. We estimated over 500 in Forest Park for the freedom celebration…thousands enjoyed the fireworks from a distance. Here is a list of our local sponsors (special thanks to them)…and these are the names of the Chautauqua Committee for the Chamber: Tiffany Evans, chair; Tim Van Leiden co-chair and fireworks pyro-technician, Amy Welton, Chad Bruner, Danielle Dunlap, Cathy Sutton, Rex Carswell, and Sydney Coleman. There were too many volunteers on the day of the event to list them all…suffice to say the Chamber couldn’t operate or provide events such as this without community volunteers. It was a fun day and we have had many great comments and suggestions for next year. If you have a suggestion email Sydney…next week there will be a link on our Facebook page with a survey for more convenience…we would love to hear your thoughts on the Chautauqua Festival.
Ottawa Area Young Professionals:
OAYP gathered this week for an evening of fun, networking and relaxing…here are the pictures. Dusty and Melanie Gentry opened up their Not Lost Brewery especially for this group for the evening…there was a good turnout from the young professionals in the community. OAYP focuses on 3 aspects of professional growth: community service, education and networking. Currently the officers are Laura Snider with Loma Vista Nursery, Shawn Turner with Turner Flowers, Joe Kosko with Crown Realty, Daniel White and Bailey Ball. If you or if you have individuals in your workplace or company which are in the first half of their career encourage them to join this group…no better way to build network and plug into our local community. Their events are wide-ranging to accommodate different interests and needs…you can email Sydneyor Ryland in our office for more information.
401 S. Main Street:
Progress “broke outside” on the Halloren Building this week…pictures here. The plan is for this new downtown restaurant and retail space to open sometime in early fall. Here is a rendering of the expected remodel and repurpose of this longtime downtown Ottawa building. I don’t know if Coffee/Café/Cocktails is the official name but it describes the future offerings of the new establishment. The upstairs will be refashioned into downtown suite apartments for Ottawa University students…38 bed spaces. How fantastic will it be to put 38 young new residents into downtown!! Just a reminder this is being undertaken by local investor Josh Walker…I can’t wait for the grand opening!
I heard this week there are a couple more new businesses moving into our downtown (just a little early to announce yet) but they will occupy a couple of now vacated buildings. There is currently strong interest in Ottawa’s downtown…these are exciting times for our community. It is also good to welcome Mark and Debbie Cation and Papa’s Attic back to downtown at 129 S. Main Street. Additionally the Cations host several other vendors in their store…it is a fun place – be sure to stop in to say hi to Mark and Debbie and see all they have brought to the downtown.
I popped into the new bowling alley project on South Princeton Street this week (in the former DIY store)…pictures here. It is beginning to take shape on the inside…you can definitely envision a bowling alley with the work that’s been completed. Anticipated opening for this new entertainment venue is late August this summer. Again this is being provided by local investors Dr. Ken and Shelly Frank family, Betty Birzer, Deb Henningsen, Bob & Pat Hayden, and Drs. Rod and Jo McCalla. I can’t emphasize enough how amazing it is to have local people investing in our local economy…good things are bound to happen! Here is their website for those interested in knowing more or signing up for fall leagues.
Legacy Square Progress:
Now that the weather has heated up and it doesn’t rain 4 out of the 7 days a week, work is steaming along on Legacy Square…with the humidity “steaming” is a good word. Here are this week’s progress pictures. The brick on the column wraps is near complete…they still have the cap to be placed on top of the brick yet. Tara Bell reported the metal for the roofs has been delivered…now that concrete work underneath is done the roof install will begin soon. I received a call this week from the company which is crafting our Legacy Bricks…they are completed and have shipped – expected delivery is next week. Electrical, plumbing and drainage work continue. The two pictures to the end are forming the light pole stands and building of the drainage retention which will be a landscaped swale toward the north end in the vicinity of the restrooms.
The date of the ribbon cutting/dedication has not been determined as of yet but our big, first grand opening event will be September 7…I’ll disclose the headliner next week. I am certain most will approve and get excited…it will be a great party – save the date, mark it on your calendars.
This morning we “officially” welcomed (now longtime) local citizen, recently dubbed Police Chief of the Ottawa Police Department, Adam Weingartner. Here are the pictures. Adam was a great choice for this position…having served in the department since 1995 (23 years). His promotion and ascension makes him the perfect fit. Ottawa has invested in his early professional development and now we are reaping the benefits of his leadership. Adam regaled attenders with many interesting facts regarding Ottawa crime and his loyal force. It takes 1-year from the time of hire until an officer is ready to go solo on street patrol. We have a great department here in Ottawa and we are safer for it.
Dennis Butler served well for 14 years… last December he has moved to the Riley County police department leaving a strong legacy here. Adam has a big task but it is more than equal to the challenge…congrats to Adam for his promotion and thanks for the leadership of the OPD.
First Friday Forum:
Alan Radcliff from Franklin County Emergency Management was the speaker this morning at first ever “Second” Friday Forum…this due to the holiday weekend on the first Friday (pictures here). We will return to normal first Friday scheduling next month. The office of Emergency Management is responsible for dealing with all aspects of emergencies and also the response and recovery from major disasters. Alan has been with Franklin County for 34 years but has served as the Emergency Preparedness Manager for 15. He described in detail the amount and extent of damage to Franklin county due to the recent floods…which are ongoing since April 28. Alan’s is a department we hope we never need…but aren’t we thankful they are here to serve when we need them. Here is the link to their webpage to learn more fully all they are responsible for.
Our whole family spent a few days of rest and relaxation over the long holiday weekend at Beaver Lake. Mostly we enjoyed downtime and one another’s company…we did do some spelunking and other kid friendly activities (swimming was the biggest activity!!). Here are a few pictures.
Time for me to run…still have several meeting yet this afternoon – busy times!! Do something relaxing this weekend – talk to you next week.
Onward ~ John
Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce