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Old 05-03-2020, 10:45 AM
 
Location: In a secret bunker under the Cannery
1,060 posts, read 875,130 times
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looks like we found a nearly perfect property for us to rent so it looks like we will be landing in Centreville

supposed to meet some of you in the area beginning June 1st
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Old 05-19-2020, 04:39 PM
 
Location: Iowa
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Welcome to rural Iowa. Centerville has a really nice square though it has been awhile since I've been on it. Used to march in a band around it every year decades ago when I was in high school.
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Old 05-21-2020, 09:54 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,791 posts, read 5,133,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robojester View Post
looks like we found a nearly perfect property for us to rent so it looks like we will be landing in Centreville

supposed to meet some of you in the area beginning June 1st
I've been there exactly once in my life when I made a delivery to the school. I do remember it's a pretty decent sized town. There's a very large man made lake (Rathbun Lake) only a little ways away for recreational purposes. It's one of the biggest lakes in the state.

The nearest bigger city is Ottumwa which is unfortunate.

Hope it works out for you.
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:01 AM
 
Location: In a secret bunker under the Cannery
1,060 posts, read 875,130 times
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The nearest bigger city is Ottumwa which is unfortunate

why is that unfortunate?
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Old 05-22-2020, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,791 posts, read 5,133,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by robojester View Post
The nearest bigger city is Ottumwa which is unfortunate

why is that unfortunate?
The town has been run down over the years. The original downtown area the last time I was there was in really bad shape. It's a packing house town that was allowed to take over the town and it morphed into disrepair. It doesn't have to be that way, but most often that is what seems to happen. There are some packing house towns where the the city leaders don't allow this to happen. A couple that come to mind that are still very nice towns are Storm Lake, Iowa and Nebraska City, Nebraska. I've been to Denison, Iowa a few times and what I've seen this town looks pretty on top of things too.
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Old 05-23-2020, 09:24 PM
 
Location: Iowa
18 posts, read 13,373 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmgg View Post
The town has been run down over the years. The original downtown area the last time I was there was in really bad shape.
It's been awhile since you've been here then. Mainstreet is completely revamped with apartments getting snapped up as soon as they are finished above all the businesses on ground level. There are also some really great dining on main street (Appanoose Rapids comes immediately to mind). I can't think of any vacant businesses there unlike a decade ago when the situation was much different.

Like all towns outside of a few densely packed urban centers, Ottumwa is losing population and tax revenue and that is not likely to change. All of them are going to wear down around the edges unless they are growing like say Ankeny or West Des Moines. But the reason people live here is because the cost of living is cheap and it has all the necessities one needs. For the extras like seeing say Hamilton when it was in Des Moines or eating at a really nice sushi place, Des Moines is just an hour and fifteen minutes down the road.

P.S. That packing house has also brought with it a handful of really good authentic Mexican restaurants, grocery stores along with some African restaurants and stores. There is also ethnic festivals and parades that are a hoot to attend for someone who was born just 40 miles away.
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Old 05-29-2020, 07:00 AM
 
Location: Keosauqua, Iowa
9,258 posts, read 17,891,518 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lthenderson View Post
P.S. That packing house has also brought with it a handful of really good authentic Mexican restaurants, grocery stores along with some African restaurants and stores. There is also ethnic festivals and parades that are a hoot to attend for someone who was born just 40 miles away.
You left out rampant spread of COVID-19.

Seriously, though, while Ottumwa is a much better place to live than it was a few years ago, it's still pretty lame as a "bigger town" to travel to for shopping. Target's gone, Penney's is gone (along with most everything else in the mall), so you've got Menards and Hobby Lobby and that's about it that Centerville doesn't offer. Ottumwa is my closest "big town" and the only time I've been there in the last six months was when I needed to pick something up in a town between here and Ottumwa and my daughter wanted Taco Bell.

If I lived in Centerville I think I'd be more likely to go to Kirksville than Ottumwa.
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Old 05-29-2020, 08:16 AM
 
Location: Sioux Falls, SD area
3,791 posts, read 5,133,334 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lthenderson View Post
It's been awhile since you've been here then. Mainstreet is completely revamped with apartments getting snapped up as soon as they are finished above all the businesses on ground level. There are also some really great dining on main street (Appanoose Rapids comes immediately to mind). I can't think of any vacant businesses there unlike a decade ago when the situation was much different.

Like all towns outside of a few densely packed urban centers, Ottumwa is losing population and tax revenue and that is not likely to change. All of them are going to wear down around the edges unless they are growing like say Ankeny or West Des Moines. But the reason people live here is because the cost of living is cheap and it has all the necessities one needs. For the extras like seeing say Hamilton when it was in Des Moines or eating at a really nice sushi place, Des Moines is just an hour and fifteen minutes down the road.

P.S. That packing house has also brought with it a handful of really good authentic Mexican restaurants, grocery stores along with some African restaurants and stores. There is also ethnic festivals and parades that are a hoot to attend for someone who was born just 40 miles away.
It's very possible there's been an effort to revitalize the city in the 8 years that I haven't been there. I've been to Ottumwa 3 times over the last 20 years for business. I've never been to the city when it was once a vibrant community which it obviously was looking at many of the business buildings there.

I'm sorry, the minor gain of a couple authentic Mexican and African restaurants does not make up for the damage done by allowing the packing house environment to engulf the community.
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Old 06-02-2020, 04:54 PM
 
Location: Iowa
18 posts, read 13,373 times
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I've always felt there are two types of people, those who like big cities and those who don't. If someone likes a big city and all the amenities they have to offer, they certainly aren't going to find it in Centerville or Ottumwa. If someone like me who grew up on a farm and Ottumwa was the "big city" while growing up, Ottumwa still has just about everything I need and want. Yes Target and Penny's are both gone and missed by many, but what they sold can still be bought in town or through other sources. I'm sure people thought the world was over for Ottumwa when they lost many major businesses in the past. But they always get another one or a different type of business will come along and replace it.

Ottumwa certainly isn't perfect and I would guess very few towns are. Not sure how a meat packing plant "engulfs" a community. I would think it is no different than any large factory that pays low wages that exist in most large towns. The only reason I ever hear that people dislike it is because it attracts people from other cultures and countries to work there. I guess I welcome other cultures but I know there are plenty of people who don't. As I said before, Ottumwa, nor any city in Iowa for that matter outside a select handful are never going to see the boom times of the early 1900's again. The reason is we went from an agrarian society to a manufacturing society and now we are transitioning to a human services society. When the very fabric of life changes, towns change too and for rural towns outside of Des Moines and Ankeny and a few others, it means fewer people continue to live in these towns and provide the necessary taxpayer support to maintain everything the way it was in the early 1900's. I'm comfortable with that. Many aren't and they can move to those few big cities with tens of thousands of others. I think that is a win win situation.
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Old 06-02-2020, 07:56 PM
 
Location: Jonesboro
3,637 posts, read 3,615,180 times
Reputation: 4511
Default Looks like we are movign to centerville

Quote:
Originally Posted by lthenderson View Post
I've always felt there are two types of people, those who like big cities and those who don't. If someone likes a big city and all the amenities they have to offer, they certainly aren't going to find it in Centerville or Ottumwa. If someone like me who grew up on a farm and Ottumwa was the "big city" while growing up, Ottumwa still has just about everything I need and want. Yes Target and Penny's are both gone and missed by many, but what they sold can still be bought in town or through other sources. I'm sure people thought the world was over for Ottumwa when they lost many major businesses in the past. But they always get another one or a different type of business will come along and replace it.

Ottumwa certainly isn't perfect and I would guess very few towns are. Not sure how a meat packing plant "engulfs" a community. I would think it is no different than any large factory that pays low wages that exist in most large towns. The only reason I ever hear that people dislike it is because it attracts people from other cultures and countries to work there. I guess I welcome other cultures but I know there are plenty of people who don't. As I said before, Ottumwa, nor any city in Iowa for that matter outside a select handful are never going to see the boom times of the early 1900's again. The reason is we went from an agrarian society to a manufacturing society and now we are transitioning to a human services society. When the very fabric of life changes, towns change too and for rural towns outside of Des Moines and Ankeny and a few others, it means fewer people continue to live in these towns and provide the necessary taxpayer support to maintain everything the way it was in the early 1900's. I'm comfortable with that. Many aren't and they can move to those few big cities with tens of thousands of others. I think that is a win win situation.
Thank you for that wonderful & welcome post, lthenderson!

The member you largely responded to has spoken disparagingly of packing house workers on other state forums as well and seems to denigrate not only the type of plant that it is but also the workers themselves. Knowing the ethnic makeup of many packing plant work forces today, including that of Smithfield in Sioux Falls, draw your own conclusions.
They have actually spoken of a wish that the giant Smithfield plant in their home city of Sioux Falls would be out of there. That would put 3,800 blue collar workers out of a job but hey... what the heck, they're packing house workers! Who needs to have a meat product produced anyway?

When I grew up in small town Iowa many years ago, Fort Dodge had 2 packing plants. One of my high school classmates came out of a very industrious family, the father of which not only farmed but also drove over to Fsort Dodge to work for Hormel's. That family ended up ending multiple children off to college.
It was a similar story for my best friend from my ISU days. His father worked for the Hygrade plant in Storm Lake & bought a comfortable, new house & sent 2 kids off to college. His goal was to make a better head start possible for his kids which he succeeded in doing.

But by comparison, today's packing house workers toil at lower wages and with fewer benefits than did their earlier brethren. And they work hard or lose their jobs with many of them standing on their feet all through a shift.

As for Ottumwa, the old gigantic John Morrell packing plant in that city began to reduce it's work force in the 1950's and eventually closed in the 1960's. (see a photo at the link below)

With the closing of Morrell, Ottumwa fell into economic despair and collapse for years & it's population fell by 9,000 from the 1960's on through the 1980's until a new, but smaller packing plant brought enough new jobs to halt that and turn around/stabilize the population. That plant also functions as a life blood of employment across multiple counties in southern Iowa from surprisingly far flung locations, including from Centerville.

Unfortunately, what happened in Ottumwa occurred in numerous other packing plant cities when plants closed or reduced work forces, i.e. in Mason City, Waterloo, Fort Dodge, Dubuque & with multiple such plants lost in Sioux City. Correspondingly the business centers of many of those communities also hollowed out as well.

We can only hope for better days ahead for Otttumwa & also Centerville because not everyone in small town or rural Iowa wants to or can, much less should be forced to move to Des Moines or Ankeny or Iowa City for better job opportunities.
But with the rough farm belt economy of today, that is really a dicey wish at best at this time.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/34086110@N06/4500607943
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