That was the topic of a town hall meeting Wednesday night at the library in Fort Madison.
Mayor Brad Randolph hosted the forum where residents were able to voice their ideas and concerns about the future of the prison.
Representatives from the city’s tourism bureau, Iowa State University and the University of Iowa helped lead the discussion about how the state, city and the Department of Corrections can work together to find the best uses for it. The plan is to get university students involved in the process of repurposing the facility.
“That gives us the resources if we decide to go to a non-profit that will take a lot of paperwork and things and the students would help with that. Finding grant money, finding finance for the institution,” Fort Madison Tourism/Marketing Coordinator Jean Peiton said.
Some ideas were museums, retail stores, a tourism center, sporting facilities and more.
Tourism officials say they hope they can put the prison to good use.
“The process of the tour system where tour buses, groups, individuals come in and take different types of tours through there,” Peiton said. “We talked about the history of the institution from an educational stand point.”
Right now, prison officials don’t have plans to do anything with the prison when they move out. The city has no plans right now to buy the facility either.
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by Andy Devine
December 3, 2014