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Fort Madison Could Acquire Prison

A southeast Iowa landmark could soon have a new owner.

City Manager Byron Smith says when Fort Madison was negotiating with the Iowa Department of Corrections about connecting the new Iowa State Penitentiary to the city's potable water system, the future of the current ISP was discussed.

He says the department asked if the city would be interested in acquiring the facility, or at least a portion of it, to become a museum or something similar.

Smith says the city council is interested, as long as the price is right.

"If we can come to some general terms," says Smith, "then I think we would need to do some more investigations about what could be done or what might be done, those types of things."

Smith says the city will meet with Governor Terry Branstad and representatives of the DOC, before the end of the month, about the property.

He says some residents are very interested in the site, especially a portion that is included on the National Register of Historic Places.


Meanwhile, Fort Madison could go beyond what other cities in Iowa allow when it comes to hunting within city limits.

City Manager Byron Smith says a request was made to allow shotgun hunting within city limits from a landowner who wants to shoot waterfowl on a piece of property he acquired along the Mississippi River.

He says the practice has been going on, illegally, on the property known as Rabbit Island, so the city wants to address the situation.

Smith says the options before the city are to de-annex the land, so it is no longer within city limits, or update Fort Madison's firearm code.

He says the city council is leaning towards option two, with restrictions on potential locations and the types of ammunition used.

Smith says a public hearing is scheduled for early next month with a vote on a proposed ordinance likely in mid-November.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.