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Cheers to Iowa Revitalized: From Battered Down to Brewing Beer

PHOTO: Appanoose Rapids Microbrewery and Loft Apartments in Ottumwa. Photo credit: Appanoose
PHOTO: Appanoose Rapids Microbrewery and Loft Apartments in Ottumwa. Photo credit: Appanoose
March 31, 2014

OTTUMWA, Iowa - What was once a building considered for demolition in the town of Ottumwa is now being called a shining example of the positive community reinvestment that's happening across Iowa. The revitalization began with a restaurant and brew pub in 2009. The last phase was completed last year with the addition of four loft apartments, and according to Tim Ware, owner of the Appanoose Rapids Brewing Company, the project has helped inspire development from other businesses.

"Plus our city purchased the building across the street because we had developed this corner, and is turning it into a market. And then another foundation here in town is going to redevelop the streetscapes," he said. "They've applied for money and talked to people that own other buildings downtown for facade improvements, and hopefully that will spread even farther down as those things develop."

The Appanoose microbrewery and loft apartments is among the winners of the 2013 Best Development Awards from 1000 Friends of Iowa.

Doug Adamson, a landscape architect in Des Moines who sits on the board for 1000 Friends, said the awards recognize projects that use what are called smart-growth principles.

"Which is basically a sustainable approach to design," he said. "It reduces sprawl. It preserves farmland from sprawl and development and really concentrates on increasing the quality of life."

Adamson said another project that stood above the rest was the restoration of the Hotel Greenfield, originally completed in 1920 and now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

"They could have easily gone out to the highway and promoted a developer to develop a standard chain hotel out there on the highway, but instead they connected with the Downtown Development Corp. and just did an amazing job and made it successful," he said.

The other winners of the 1000 Friends of Iowa development awards were the Historic Packaging and Provision Building in Iowa City and Central Iowa Shelter and Services in Des Moines.

More information and photos are at

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA