WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Lee County Finally Supports Port

Keokuk, IA – The Mid-America Port Commission is seeking $50-million to build a port facility near Lock & Dam 21. The application has already been filed so representatives are trying to secure support for the project.

The commission is focusing on river counties in Illinois, Iowa, and Missouri who are part of the 25-county organization. Securing Lee County's support, though, has taken longer than expected.

The Lee County Board of Supervisors signed a resolution of support after several months of discussions and questions. The questions surrounded how the Mid-America Port Commission's application would impact the Lee County-based Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority.

The final resolution says the commission will support foreign trade zones in multiple locations. SIREPA has been working for several years to secure such a designation for southeast Iowa.

The resolution says the Mid-America Port Commission will also support existing and new intermodal facilities and establish a strategic plan for future cooperation between the three member states.

Jim Mentesti with the Great River Economic Development Foundation says Lee County's support will improve the chances for the commission's application. He says it is important to show that there is a cooperative spirit along both sides of the Mississippi River.

Mentesti says the Mid-America Port Commission must still secure the support of a few more member counties. The short list includes Des Moines County.