MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa — Target enthusiasts in Marshalltown had a brief glimpse of hope that the store would come and replace a vacant hospital in town. However, the “coming soon” sign was placed in town by a not-so-Goodfellow.
UnityPoint Marshalltown, which is attempting to sell the former Marshalltown Hospital, said the sign was a hoax in a social media post Wednesday morning. It said an unknown prankster draped the fake Target banner over one of its for sale signs, but encouraged Target to give them a call about the property.
UnityPoint moved its hospital operations from downtown Marshalltown to a brand-new facility at the junction of Highways 30 and 14 this April. The old hospital has sat vacant ever since.
Some in Marshalltown did not find humor in the prank, considering how much the right sale of the old hospital could improve the city’s economic future.
“That’s the problem with this town, no one takes anything seriously anymore,” said Marshalltown resident Danielle Stokley. “It should become someplace where people are getting further ahead instead of just staying right where they are. I don’t know of anything fun to do in this town.”
Others fear the empty property will attract vandals if UnityPoint does not find the right buyer soon.
“It still looks nice right now and I want to see it turned into something positive before it gets damaged,” said Marshalltown resident Robert Kelly. “I’m sad to see the hospital go, but they should make it into something useful. Instead of it being abandoned, it should be something for the community.”
Marshalltown residents have to drive far to shop at Target. The closest store is 40 minutes away in Ames, and another store is 45 minutes from Marshalltown in Altoona.