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Main Street Keokuk Seeks Facade Money

Jul 24, 2013

Downtown Keokuk

The city of Keokuk will help a local organization working to improve the appearance of the downtown district.

Main Street Keokuk will apply for up to $500,000 from the state for façade improvements.

The city council has pledged $50,000 as a local match for the application.

Executive Director Joyce Glasscock says the impact of a grant like this can be seen throughout the city, not just the downtown, because of the improved appearances of multiple buildings.

The application is due later this year.

Glasscock says if successful, the façade improvements could begin next summer.

The scope of the project will be determined by the interest of property owners as they would be responsible for 30% of the cost of the work done to their buildings.

The application will eventually focus on a 2-3 block area.


The city has hired Keokuk Contractors to separate the sanitary and storm-water sewer system in Victory Park.

The local firm submitted the lowest of four bids at nearly $5.2-million, which is nearly $800,000 below initial estimates.

The project is contingent on the city being able to borrow more than $4-million from a state revolving loan fund.

The city must separate its sewer system to meet federal environmental standards.


The Keokuk City Council is still trying to decide how to divide its "tourism dollars."

The panel gives hotel/motel tax revenue to several groups, with the Convention & Tourism Bureau receiving the most each year.

Finance Committee Chairman Roger Bryant is proposing a change to where the CTB’s funding becomes percentage-based while the rest would continue receiving set amounts.

It’s likely the change would mean less money for tourism efforts.

Alderman Mike O'Connor questions the idea of cutting tourism funding, when the CTB is directly responsible for getting people into the hotels and motels.

He says if one group's funding is percentage-based, they should all be percentage-based.

The finance committee will re-examine the proposal so it can be discussed during budget negotiations early next year.


Keokuk has stopped assessing late fees to John W. Sammons Construction for the delayed installation of about 30 manholes.

It took the Keokuk firm about nine months longer than expected to finish the work.

The late fees totaled about $40,000, which will be discounted from the original, nearly $600,000 contract.

A certificate of completion is expected to come before the city council in a few weeks.