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Ottumwa Better Block: Where Are They Now?

People often ask us what happens after the Better Block, so I thought I’d check in with our team in Ottumwa about what has happened since we held a Better Block back in October of 2017.  The energy and experiences of Better Block don’t just end with Better Blocks and the after-action reports (see Ottumwa’s report here).

Shortly after the Better Block, Joe’s Burgers, a restaurant famous for its (you guessed it) burgers, relocated to downtown Ottumwa. Jefferson Tyler, who runs Joe’s Burger cited the Better Block and the energy around downtown as a major reason for the relocation.

Blaine’s Bagel’s, a pop-up restaurant during the Better Block, is now scheduled to open a brick and mortar location at the end of this month in downtown.

The City also recently passed a bond package that included many infrastructure improvements to downtown that were tested and showcased during the Better Block.

And the energy from the Better Block Train the Trainer workshop is spreading. Leaders in Ellsworth recently used Better Block as inspiration to tackle blighted buildings in their downtown through public art. And leaders in Cedar Rapids, Fort Dodge, Greenfield, Dubuque, and Keokuk are all working on Better Block mini-builds with Better Block’s help.

So, if you need us in April, meet us in Iowa! See you soon!


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