Fort Madison, IA – Fort Madison's newest city leaders took the oath of office during Tuesday night's city council meeting. City Clerk Sue Mead opened the meeting by administering the oath of office to new mayor Steve Ireland. Ireland, in turn, swore in 2nd Ward Alderman Chris Greenwald and At Large Alderman Brad Randolph. Ireland, Greenwald, Randolph, and 4th Ward Alderman Neal Boeding were victorious in last November's city elections. Ireland says he wants to work on improving Fort Madison's image.
Keokuk, IA – One Southeast Iowa mayor says a new economic development tool could be in place within the first few weeks of 2006. The Iowa legislature approved a proposal, during the 2005 session, that would allow cities and counties to create port authorities. These facilities allow businesses and industries to store items in warehouses and provide easier access to air, river, rail, and road transportation. Keokuk Mayor Dave Gudgel says after months of work, a port authority in Southeast Iowa could become a reality.
Fort Madison, IA – The Lee County Board of Supervisors has a new chairman. The board used its first meeting of 2006 to promote Supervisor George Morgan from Vice-Chairman to Chairman. Morgan replaces Rick Larkin, who served as chairman during 2005, the first year the board expanded from 3 to 5 members. Morgan says, last year, the 5 supervisors decided they would elect a new chairman as the start of each new year. Supervisor Larry Kruse, the lone Republican on the board, was elected Vice-Chairman.
Nauvoo, IL – A group from Montrose has proposed the idea of ferry service between there and Nauvoo. Nauvoo Mayor John McCarty says the group was seeking interest and possible support, but did not have a cost for the needed feasibility study. He says the delegation will try to come up with a cost and return to the Nauvoo City Council with more specific figures. McCarty says the ferry could help develop part of the town's riverfront. He says a group of Nauvoo area businessmen is looking into developing a dinner-cruise boat service which could be based in Nauvoo.
Monmouth, IL – Now that the State of Illinois has approved a historic district for Monmouth, the town will try to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Linda Lee Blaine of the Western Illinois Economic Development Partnership says the attempt is designed to spur downtown redevelopment. The Courthouse Commercial District includes 72 buildings located within two blocks fo the square. Blaine says if the National Park Service lists the district, building owners could be eligible for up to a 20 percent tax credit if they remodel following historic preservation guidelines.
Keokuk, IA – Southeast Iowa businesses could have more access to low interest loans for improvements and expansions. The Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission has been operating 2 regional revolving loan funds in Lee, Des Moines, Henry, and Louisa counties for more than 10 years. Executive Director Brian Tapp says the 2 funds total about $1,700,000, though that money has all been loaned out to local businesses. He says the regional planning commission will apply for $600,000 more from the federal government for a 3rd regional fund.
Rushville, IL – The Rushville Rotary Club will help restock the library of an elementary school that was destroyed by Hurricane Rita. Club Vice President Walt Stephenson says half of the 14 schools in Vermillion Parish west of New Orleans were destroyed. Stephenson says the state will replace buildings and textbooks, but library collections are far down on the priority list of goods to be purchased. He says the club contacted Rotarians in the region who put him in touch with the Seventh Ward school in Abbeville.