A fire in February severely damaged Keokuk's City Hall. The city is now moving ahead with plans to demolish the two-story brick building at 415 Blondeau Street and hire a firm to design the new City Hall.
The cty council agreed to hire Keokuk Contractors to remove asbestos from the former City Hall and then demolish it. The city received four bids to complete the work. Keokuk Contractors’ bid was the 2nd lowest.
The lowest was submitted by Bricker Excavating (from Quincy) at about $68,000, but city staff rejected that bid due to what were described as multiple inconsistencies such as the project cost and licensing requirements.
The city’s insurance provider will pay for the demolition of the building. It will also pay up to $1.5 million towards a new city hall, including the hiring of an architectural firm.
Keokuk is interested in acquiring two buildings in the 500 block of Main Street that are owned by Connection Bank. The bank is thinking about consolidating its operations in Keokuk into one location, allowing it to donate the buildings to the city.
City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said before negotiations proceed on the acquisition of the buildings, the city needs to hire an architectural firm to make sure the two buildings can replace City Hall.
“So that when the bank is ready to move out, we can get our crews in there to fix it so we can get in,” said O’Donnell. He estimated renovations to the buildings will take 3-6 months.
The City Hall Committee, formed after the fire at City Hall, received eight proposals from architectural firms. Three firms will present their proposals to the committee in a couple weeks.
O’Donnell said the proposals that impressed him were personalized to Keokuk.
“Which, to me, feels like they really want the project versus the other ones who just changed the name on the proposal and sent it in,” said O’Donnell.
The committee will recommend a firm to the city council, which will make the final decision on whom to hire.
Keokuk is currently using the third floor of Pilot Grove Savings Bank at 601 Main Street as its temporary City Hall. City council meetings are being held at 500 N. 20th Street, which is the new home for the Keokuk School District’s administrative offices.