Expansion could be in the future for River Hills Community Health Center

River Hills Community Health Center is looking to expand to a two-story building at their location on Market Street.

Expansion is coming to River Hills Community Health Center in Ottumwa.

The center previously expressed a desire to move to a location on Hutchinson Avenue.

However, CEO Rick Johnson met with the Ottumwa City Council Monday night to discuss how the business could stay downtown. The council discussed how to give River Hills the parking and space it needs to build a two-story building at their current location.

Keeping the business on Market Street would perhaps bring 40 new jobs to downtown.

"Anytime you have a client that's as big as they are and have 100 jobs, we want to keep them downtown," said Ottumwa Mayor Tom Lazio. "So the council was very open to listening to the proposal and hearing what they had to offer."

Now that the council is aware of the health center's needs, the engineering department will map out parking realignment. Johnson told the council that River Hills is on a tight deadline as they have to utilize grant money by May 2015 or they will lose their funding.

Next, Lazio hopes the council will meet with Johnson again in July. They can then give River Hills their final answer August 1.