Knoxville agrees to plan for huge federal ghost town

FILE - In this March 12, 2019 file photo, a facility closed sign hangs in front of the main building on the Veterans Affairs campus in Knoxville, Iowa. After watching for more than a decade as a once busy Veterans Affairs campus deteriorated into a sprawling ghost town, leaders of a small Iowa city announced plans to take control of the property and likely demolish most of the structures. City and county officials signed documents Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020, taking ownership of the 153-acre property. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)
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KNOXVILLE, Iowa (AP) - After watching for more than a decade as a once busy Veterans Affairs campus deteriorated into a sprawling ghost town, leaders of a small Iowa city announced plans to take control of the property and likely demolish most of the structures.

City and county officials signed documents Wednesday taking ownership of the 153-acre property. For decades it had operated as its own city with a power plant, fire station, water tower, chapel, and even an old bowling alley fashioned from a Quonset hut.

That abruptly changed in 2009, when federal officials closed the facility. Officials say the plan to build housing at the site.