Nic Hockenberry

Nic Hockenberry

A group of local leaders is searching for a new use for the current Jackson County Regional Health Center facility after the hospital moves to a new location. 

Members of the hospital’s Board of Trustees twice have met with the Jackson County Economic Alliance, and once with Maquoketa and county officials, to discuss the future of the building and property at 700 W. Grove St. in Maquoketa.

This new steering committee will not decide the final fate of the hospital building but hopes to offer guidance to benefit the community, according to JCEA Executive Director Nic Hockenberry.

The representatives banded together July 18 “to discuss the challenges and opportunities and most importantly what community needs might be met by the redevelopment of the site,” Hockenberry said.  

He called the meeting a “working group.” The group won’t make any decisions or be the ones to develop the property, he said. 

“Typically development of property and/or real estate sales are discussed outside of the public eye,” Hockenberry said. “We’re hoping before going out and engaging with private developers that we know what the community needs are from the JCRHC, City of Maquoketa, and County’s perspective.”

Housing topped the list of ideas discussed for the property so far, Hockenberry said, but the overall message was one of openness to the ideas of private developers.

“The hope would be for a full reuse of the site. It would be up to the perspective developer whether they would want to keep any or all of the existing structures,” Hockenberry said. No matter the property’s zoning, “residential or a mixed-use development would be the most likely reuses if I had to guess how a developer would look at it.” 

The current hospital property will become vacant around December 2020, the expected completion date for a new facility under construction on the south side of Maquoketa. The new facility will be about 71,500 square feet and include 13 beds, with a license for up to 25 beds.

The hospital Board of Trustees will pay for the new facility, which is estimated to cost about $36.8 million, by borrowing $17.87 million in revenue bonds and paying the remainder of the debt from cash reserves.

The current facility covers more than twice that size, with the original section built in 1949 and additions tacked on over the years.

Hockenberry said the steering committee will continue to meet about once a month.