WIUM Tristates Public Radio

O'Donnell: Keokuk City Hall Not A Total Loss

Mar 21, 2019

The insurance settlement for the city of Keokuk following last month's fire at City Hall will not be quite as high as some anticipated. That's because the two-story brick building at 415 Blondeau Street is not considered a "total loss."

City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said the city’s insurance provider, Iowa Community Assurance Pool, told the city this month that the building can be salvaged, though it will likely need to be gutted.

The fire spread through the first floor of the building, destroying multiple offices. The basement and the second floor of City Hall sustained smoke and water damage.

O’Donnell said the loss to the city was determined to be $1,545,190.

“However, this is not necessarily the amount we would receive, depending on a variety of factors,” said O’Donnell. “With full replacement cost, ICAP will pay the amount incurred if we rebuild the existing structure [at 415 Blondeau]. The determined loss amount [$1,545,190] would act as a cap to incurred expenses should we select another site.”

O’Donnell said essentially the city would receive a check for $767,594 as its settlement for the fire, with the knowledge that the insurance company would pay roughly $800,000 more for new construction or the renovation of an existing building. And he said a little extra would be available for asbestos removal, architectural fees and building code variances.

Mayor Tom Richardson previously told Tri States Public Radio that if the building was deemed a total loss, the city’s settlement would be closer to $3 million. Richardson helped write the city’s insurance policy during his time as an insurance agent for the city.

O’Donnell said the city’s new City Hall Committee will meet for the first time on March 28. The committee, which includes four aldermen and several city employees, will decide how to proceed with City Hall.

City government is currently operating out of the third floor of a downtown bank.