It appears Keokuk is ready to move ahead with a large-scale street reconstruction project.
Several years ago, the city borrowed about $3-million to rebuild Grand Avenue, from 4th Street to Rand Park.
The bids came in much higher than that, though, so the city had to repay the loan, with interest, and put the project on the shelf.
Talk of rebuilding Grand Avenue has resurfaced in recent weeks, culminating in last night’s Keokuk City Council workshop.
Keokuk will no longer need outside help to settle a new contract with some employees.
Mayor Tom Marion says that’s because the city and the general unit have reached a tentative agreement.
The employees in the general unit come from multiple departments, including streets and parks. They have been working under their previous contract since July 1.
Marion says the tentative agreement allowed the two sides to cancel an arbitration hearing scheduled for this week.
The Keokuk City Council will help fund the Southeast Iowa Regional Economic and Port Authority (SIREPA).
Keokuk, Fort Madison and Lee County are the original members of the authority, which is Iowa’s first and only port authority.
The Lee County Economic Development Group has been providing operational and administrative services for SIREPA, but the organization now wants to hire the Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission.
The authority does not have a regular income stream at this point, so it needs help to pay for such services.
One member of the Keokuk City Council wants residents to address a growing nuisance.
City code requires residents to trim their trees so they do not block sidewalks or extend out over city streets. The excessive limbs can damage larger vehicles like fire engines and garbage trucks.
1st Ward Alderman Mike O’Connor says there are too many properties, throughout Keokuk, where the trees are out of control.
He wants to put the entire city “on notice” to deal with these overgrown trees.
Keokuk is putting more money into tourism efforts as the city council has agreed to boost funding for the Convention and Tourism Bureau by $7,000.
The increase would bring the total for the current fiscal year to $140,000.
Tourism Director Kirk Brandenberger requested the increase based on Keokuk’s last fiscal year being its best ever when it comes to hotel-motel tax revenue.
He says the tax generated $276,000, which is up from the projected total of $260,000.