OTTAWA — The first of three major projects planned to utilize 55 flood buyout properties by the Greenspace Development Committee has been approved to proceed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, with a park and stage to be built where Paul’s Ace Hardware once stood by the railroad tracks on Main Street.
Named the Rex Center Park after a social media vote, the park will feature a stage for entertainment events in downtown Ottawa. There will also be a paved walkway leading to the stage with picnic tables set up, said Tim Macke, Greenspace Development Committee chair. Bushes and trees have already been planted close to the railroad tracks by Croy’s Mowing, who donated labor to plant the foliage. An Ottawa resident donated the money to purchase the plants, Macke said.
Rex Center Park is currently estimated to cost $71,774, though that total is subject to change, said Barbara Hermiller, Village of Ottawa clerk-treasurer. Macke said there are organizations and residents donating time, labor and materials, which makes it difficult to give a definite estimate.
“We have $65,000 in state money to use on the project,” Hermiller said. “We’ve got commitments from the Ottawa-Glandorf Rotary Club, Ottawa-Glandorf Jaycees and the Kiwanis Club. The local fundraising will help for our match to the grant.”
Ottawa is required to match the $65,000 grant at $.50 on the dollar, she said. Ottawa-Glandorf Rotary Club, Ottawa-Glandorf Jaycees and the Kiwanis Club have each committed to donating $15,000 each to the Rex Center Park project, said Macke. The state grant money is required to be used for greenspace development, and what isn’t used for the park will be used for another project.
Technicon Design Group, Inc. has donated the architectural design work and Bockrath and Associates has donated engineering services to the project, said Macke.
“There’s really been a lot of support from the community so far,” said Hermiller. “It’s been wonderful.”
The Greenspace Development Committee was created and authorized by Ottawa Village Council to develop plans for flood buyout properties located around the village. The committee has three major locations they are focusing on developing for the near future, said Macke.
When Rex Center Park is completed, the committee will focus on creating two soccer fields between Maple and Sugar Streets. The last of the three main projects is putting in river access, a nature trail and landscaping at the 10.33 acres at Arrowhead Park, Macke said.
“It will be the focal point of downtown,” said Ottawa Mayor Dean Meyer. “It’s going to be pretty and functional.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.