Forum looks for input on MMSC project

Marshalltown Medical & Surgical Center CEO John Hughes will host a community town hall meeting Dec. 4 to share information about the future building project of the hospital and receive public feedback. The forum will begin at 6:30 p.m. at the MHS/Community Auditorium.

Hughes announced Nov. 5 that the hospital plans to build a new facility on the southern edge of Marshalltown near the corner of Highway 30 and Highway 14.

The decision to move from the downtown area over the next few years has been met with some resistance by community members. Liz Zuercher, vice president of administrative services with MMSC, said this forum is part of their communications plan with the project and not in response to the negative feedback.

Zuercher said they have received both positive and negative feedback on the project.

“We know with any project people’s opinions will vary,” Zuercher said.

She said the negative feedback on the move of the hospital will not affect the decision to go forward with the project.

Zuercher said Hughes will give a presentation about the project then open it up to questions. She said she hopes this forum will help people understand the reasons why hospital leaders decided to make the move.

Former state senator Larry McKibben has been one of the more vocal critics on the move away from the central location in town and expressed his feelings in a recent Letter to the Editor in the Times-Republican. He said he has received plenty of feedback from people who agree with him and he looks forward to the community meeting.

“People felt there needed to be a community dialogue,” McKibben said. “I’m hopeful we’ll have the (hospital) board members there too to answer questions.”

McKibben hopes the decision to move the hospital out of its central location in town can be reversed.

“It is the core of our city,” he said.