Iowa City's Abbe Center moves to Towncrest District

Center joins nearby medical service providers

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IOWA CITY — After four decades in various buildings on the corner of Iowa City’s College and Van Buren streets, Abbe Mental Health Center is moving to the east side of town.

The center, which is an affiliate of AbbeHealth and provides adults and children outpatient and community-based mental health services in Johnson County, has joined other medical service and community outreach organizations in Iowa City’s Towncrest District, according to a Thursday news release.

“Before our merger with Abbe Center for Community Mental Health last spring, we were searching for a new building where all of our clinicians, therapists, nurses, social workers, psychiatrists and other community outreach providers could co-locate under one roof for better efficiencies and internal integration of care delivery,” Stephen Trefz, the center’s director of special projects, said in the release. “This new two-story building accomplishes this, plus has more parking, great access to public transit and the infrastructure to better house our telehealth services.”

Abbe Mental Health Center, formerly Community Mental Health Center for Mid-Eastern Iowa, had been operating at the corner of E. College and S. Van Buren streets for decades. Officials first moved into a former pediatrician’s office at 505 E. College St. and the attached garage at 214 S. Van Buren St. 35 years ago. The center’s facilities expanded to include a former prosthetics shop at 220 S. Van Buren St. about 30 years ago and about 10 years later, the health center acquired a former chiropractor’s office at 507 E. College St.

The center’s new building is located at 1039 Arthur Street, near other services and non-profits like Successful Living, Arc, the Free Medical Clinic of Iowa City and Progressive Rehabilitation and Internal Medicine.

“Many of our patients treated for mental and behavioral health issues are also patients at these primary care clinics or the Iowa City Medical Free Clinic, located here in Towncrest. This makes scheduling medical appointments more convenient for our patients, and allows us as medical team to provide a more integrated and collaborative treatment program for our mutual patients’ overall health,” Trefz said in the release.

Back in the 1950s, several medical services providers relocated from downtown Iowa City to Towncrest to expand and update their facilities. Since then, the area has maintained its medical feel with pharmacies, offices and clinics.

Urban renewal efforts that began more than five years ago have strengthened Towncrest and its presence of medical providers.

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