Plans for developing a regional medical district in the center of Cedar Rapids are beginning to come together. As Iowa Public Radio’s Durrie Bouscaren reports, area hospitals hope that by joining together, they can compete with other cities.
The MedQuarter in Cedar Rapids includes two large hospitals, smaller clinics, and nearby businesses. As a Self Supporting Municipal Improvement District, or SSMID, the group can levy taxes to improve the area.
They’ve hired a consulting firm headed by Scott Freres. He says the concept is becoming more popular in the country, because for hospitals to compete, they have to develop in one place.
"In order to attract the best doctors, research institutions, businesses that support it, the Medquarter was created to be a brand unto itself," Freres said.
Bruce Nesmith, a professor at nearby Coe College, attended the public input meeting—he says MedQuarter is an opportunity.
"Downtown has come back remarkably well from the flood, and a mile swatch is empty and underused. This is a chance to fill in that," Nesmith said.
The proposal now goes to a steering committee for feedback—but they don’t expect to have a final plan until the first half of 2014.