Ottumwa explores ways to allocate $3M from JBS, Plumrose

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JBS USA and Plumrose USA have set aside $3.1 million to help Ottumwa recover from the pandemic.

And now the two companies are turning to the city, school district and other local organizations to determine the best use for those funds.

The investment, announced Oct. 13, is part of a $50-million Hometown Strong Initiative that is benefitting communities across the country.

“We’re just pleased that they’ve been willing to include us in their thinking as a company and this Hometown Strong program is just outstanding,” said Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio.

COVID-19 relief and food insecurity are a few needs the city has identified. Plans for specific projects won’t be finalized until 2021.

“We can do a lot of different things for this size of community and so we’re just trying to make sure that whatever projects we pick have the biggest impact for the community and our employees overall,” said Zenna Boyd, Human Resources Director at JBS USA.

School upgrades and more housing are also on the list of projects being considered.

“Housing has been the biggest one that we’ve really been trying to help solve,” Boyd said. “That’s a big problem for us and for the community.”

JBS employs close to 2,200 people at its Ottumwa plant. Facility staff are hoping this month’s big investment will make the community a better place for their employees to call home.

“We want people to come here and buy homes and live, and be successful,” Boyd said. “And the more we invest in the community, the more likely it is that we’ll be able to have people who want to make this their home.”

A portion of the funds will likely benefit projects at the Ottumwa Family YMCA and Greater Ottumwa Park. Company management is planning to announce more specifics once those plans are finalized.

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