May 20– May 20–OSKALOOSA — Ground was broken Thursday at the site of a new Fairfield Inn and Suites Hotel.

Located on the west side of Oskaloosa along A Avenue West and Gateway Drive, the hotel will boast 76 rooms with smart technology, complimentary hot breakfasts, a large indoor swimming pool and exercise facility and meeting space to accommodate 80 people.

President of Swift Hospitality Group Matt Jacobs said he was introduced to the local team last year to do some pre-development work and decide if it was feasible to build a hotel in the chosen site.

“And wow. It didn’t take long,” he said. “We drove here, we drove to the supporting communities in a 30-mile radius, looked at the various businesses in town and restaurants and the university and it didn’t take us long to really realize that there is a great need for this type of hotel, business class hotel.”

Oskaloosa Mayor David Krutzfeldt said he was thrilled when he heard Marriott would be building in Oskaloosa.

“There were a couple of reasons why. First off, you’re probably aware that for many years, we have been working to build an airport and a northwest bypass around Oskaloosa,” he said. “This is all part of helping to make the living condition of Oskaloosa better and also help the culture of Oskaloosa. So the hotel will add to that, that it makes it that much better of a convenience of being able to come to Oskaloosa and being able to do business in the area.”

The Fairfield Inn and Suites, Krutzfeldt said, coordinates with other efforts that are being made to improve the community.

“The bypass that’s being made, the airport that’s going on, the new Y that’s being built, these are all things that are making the community exciting,” he said. “And so this strikes me as another, if you will, harmony, that’s going on. But in addition, I think it brings a level of excellence to the community that you can see from the road and it sets the bar for anybody else, that they look to this and say ‘ok, this is what I want to at least be in harmony with as I do my own construction. So it’s an influence on the community that I think we will feel for years to come.”

Musco President Joe Crookham said the new hotel is long overdue.

“To give you an indication of its impact on the community, rooms in this hotel will generate about $100,000 a year in hotel/motel tax revenue for our local recreation for youth and kids in our community and attracting people to come to our community,” he said. “So it’s a great indicator of how much this matters to the community in total.”

Crookham highlighted the many activities held at Lacey Recreation Complex that draw in visitors from across Iowa.

“The lack of needed hotel rooms has impacted our ability to get tournaments here,” he said. “We’re recognized as having one of the best recreational facilities around the state and once we get the hotel that we can accommodate things, we’re going to see thousands of more visitors to our community and that’s obviously good for the revenue of the businesses that are here and for the growth of our community. So it’s a big step forward.”

Gilliand said Swift Hospitality looks closely at each potential location.

“We always look at the location and we get excited about every location that wants to build one of our brands. But we also look at it very cautiously and don’t just give franchises away,” he said. “So we look at that. Our developers study it with the local people, with the owners. This is just a win-win situation for everyone. It’s going to be a great addition to the community, I think, and to the Fairfield family.”

Community leaders and Swift Hospitality personnel donned hard hats, gripped shovels and dug into the earth, capping the groundbreaking ceremony.

Managing Editor Angie Holland can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter @OskyAngie.