A fire in February severely damaged the two-story brick building at 415 Blondeau Street that housed Keokuk’s City Hall. After several months of searching, it appears the city has found a new home for city government.
The city’s City Hall Committee voted unanimously to try to acquire the buildings at 501 Main Street and 515 Main Street. Online records show the buildings are owned by Keokuk Savings Bank & Trust, which operates as Connection Bank. The combined value exceeds $1,000,000.
Mayor Tom Richardson said Connection Bank was one of several local property owners to contact the city after the fire. He said the bank offered its two properties, which are separated by a local jewelry store, because the bank was looking to build a single facility to house all of its Keokuk operations.
Richardson said the city was asked to keep the offer private, which it did until the recent vote to pursue acquiring the buildings. They were among about a half-dozen sites under consideration by the City Hall committee.
Richardson said 501/515 Main Streets are really nice buildings that offer plenty of space and ample parking. He said one reason they stood out is because of the timeline for possible acquisition.
“[Connection Bank] could be up and going with a new building in less than one year, so that was inviting to us that we could get into it pretty quickly and possibly have it available to us within a year,” said Richardson.
Richardson said the two buildings will be inspected to make sure they would fit the needs for City Hall. He said several local organizations have already reached out to the city about renting space there if the buildings are acquired.
The city will have about $1.5-million from its insurance settlement to spend on acquisition and renovations.
The committee started exploring alternative sites for City Hall after determining that it did not make financial sense to rebuild at 415 Blondeau Street. While the insurance company did not considered the building a total loss, it did suffer heavy fire, smoke and water damage and the foundation is more than 100 years old.
The city has been operating out of the third floor of Pilot Grove Savings Bank in the 600 block of Main Street since the fire.
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