WIUM Tristates Public Radio

Questions Remain About Closed Keokuk Road

Apr 6, 2015

The city of Keokuk still can't say when it will be able to reopen a small stretch of Fulton Street that has been closed to traffic for several years. A portion of the road collapsed following a hill-slide. Instead of repairing it, the city blocked it off with several concrete barriers.

Mayor Tom Marion said there's a good reason for the city not repairing the road. He said the hill remains unstable and no one is responsible for stabilizing it at this time.

"We are still trying to determine who actually owns it," said Marion. "Nobody says they own (the hill). They all point the finger at someone else. The records are deficient, so that's one thing we are trying to figure out." 

Marion said the city cannot afford to stabilize the hill and repair the road, thus the need for someone to take responsibility for the hill.

Vehicles have been blocked from using the small road between 2nd Street and Fulton Street in Keokuk for several years due to damage from a hill-slide
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

Public Works Director Mark Bousselot has said on multiple occasions that he is trying to set up a meeting with those who might own the land, including several large utility companies.

Mary Ann Rector and Donald Boecker raised the issue during the Keokuk City Council's April 2 workshop. In recent months, it has been aldermen bringing it up for discussion.

Rector and Boecker each own property along the closed street. They can only access their homes through an alley, so they want to see it reopened.

But just as important to them is improving the appearance of the area, which has been over-run since the road closed.

The view from the road.
Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR

The road connects from the intersection of 2nd and Morgan to 3rd and Fulton, revealing the Mississippi River, the power plant and Lock & Dam 19.

Marion said the city would do what it can to have the owners of nearby lots maintain them properly. It would also do its best to clean up the area where the ownership is in question.

"We are going to take care of the weeds and whatever we can," said Marion.  "We've talked about the electric company taking down a pole that is not being used there."