(photo from Old Fort Madison Facebook page)

After a city inspection found a range of problems from leaky roofs to crumbling foundations, the future of the old fort replica in Fort Madison’s Riverview Park is up for a community discussion.

Mayor Matt Mohrfeld says the fort is now closed due to safety concerns as several buildings are unstable. The fort replicates the military outpost that was built there in 1808. It opened as a tourist attraction in 1988 but has fallen into disrepair. “While there was an awareness of it needing some love, there was not awareness that it had deteriorated to that point,” the mayor says.

An architectural study in 2014 found the site in need of repairs and Mohrfeld says its current condition is the culmination of years of neglecting a long-term maintenance plan and the funding that would go with it. The report said some of the damage was due to flooding that engulfed the wooden replica several times. The park is in a floodplain on the banks of the Mississippi River.

“What we really need to do now is put our solution hat on,” Mohrfeld says, “and really dig deep and try to draw together for the path forward.” The city will hold a meeting on the fort tomorrow (Tuesday). Mohrfeld says he wants to hear input from the community and he is open to ideas. Personally and professionally, he says he wants to see something in place to honor the old fort and tell its story.

(By Rich Egger, Tri States Public Radio)

Radio Iowa