Keokuk: Recycling, Meetings, Community Gardens

Keokuk, IA – The Keokuk City Council is looking for ways to encourage more residents to recycle.

Keokuk residents recycled 218.92 tons of material from July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009. That is a 40-ton decrease, compared to the previous year, when residents recycled 258.41 tons of material.

At the same time, residents threw out 2,841.61 tons of material from July 1, 2008-June 30, 2009. That is a nearly 400-ton increase compared to the previous year.

7th Ward Alderwoman Susan Dunek says the city has to do a better job of promoting recycling programs. "We have good curbside recycling in Keokuk and participating is not particularly difficult," says Dunek, "so we want to take some steps to make people better informed and make it easier for them."

Some of the options discussed were a recycling fee on garbage bills and a recycling bin for each home. The city council asked a group of city employees to come up with ways to promote the services within Keokuk.

One possible reason for the shift could be the trash containers provided by the city. Last summer, Keokuk switched to an automated garbage pick-up system with 95 gallon containers.

The Keokuk City Council is thinking about televising more of its meetings.

The council's business meetings, on the first and third Thursday of each month, are already shown on a local access channel in Keokuk. 5th Ward Alderman Justin Tuck says he would like to see the weekly workshops broadcast for the public.

The council uses the workshops to discuss issues, which leads to little or no discussion during the actual business meeting.

Several council members supported the idea. Others hesitated because the workshops are already open to the public and are usually filled with candid discussions.

The issue is expected to be discussed during the August 27 workshop.

Community Garden
Keokuk is looking into the idea of developing community gardens. 7th Ward Alderwoman Susan Dunek says there are people in Keokuk who would love to grow their own fruits or vegetables, but do not have the space.

Dunek says community gardens could also help bring people together. "These community gardens are places where people can get together after the supper hour," says Dunek, "It's not just about growing things, it is about growing relationships with your fellow gardeners."

Dunek says the land in several city parks would make a good community garden. The council expressed an interest in putting together a citizens committee to see if there is local interest in the idea.