Knoxville Partnering with Marion County to Buy Former VA Campus

KNOXVILLE, Iowa -- The City of Knoxville is partnering with the Marion County Board of Supervisors to negotiate the purchase of the Veteran’s Administration campus. The facility mostly closed down in 2004, with a few buildings open up until a couple years ago.

“We’re currently working with a GSA right now to acquire the property," said Knoxville Mayor Brian Hatch. “They are working with the state historical preservation organization right now to try to clear some of those channels in order to make sure if we do acquire the property that we're able to do what we want with it.”

The City and County are hoping the grounds can be developed into a new housing neighborhood.

“The County actually did a Marion County-wide housing study a few years back. That’s what it came back with showing that not only Knoxville, but other communities in Marion County [are] in need of housing, all types of housing.”

Knoxville could have passed on the federal offer to purchase the grounds, but they would have no assurance as to what the grounds would be used for.

The downside of the purchase is the expense of removing possibly up to 39 buildings now located on the campus.

“We don’t know for sure. We’ve had estimates from five to $10 million on taking all the buildings down, wiping it down to bare grass,” said Hatch.

Formal negotiations have not yet begun, while those historical background checks are underway on the campus.

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