Highway 61 Bypass

Jason Parrott / TSPR

Bob Beck was all smiles as he stood before a crowd of about 30 people at the groundbreaking ceremony for the latest four-lane expansion of Highway 61 in Louisa County.

Beck, who chairs the Highway 61 Coalition, said it was a good day for drivers, for businesses, for residents, and for southeast Iowa as a whole.

The Highway 61 Coalition hopes a new industry in Lee County will spur some much-anticipated highway improvements.

Fort Madison wants to make it more enticing for rural property owners to join the city.

The city council has signed off on a series of incentives available to those interested in voluntarily annexing into the city.

City Manager Byron Smith says the incentives include the gradual phasing in of the city’s property tax rate and the possibility of offering a specific zoning designation for a property.

They also allow the city to cover certain legal expenses and reduce utility connection fees.