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Penalty for Street Damage?

Keokuk Alderman John Helenthal examines the street crews want to cut through to connect a new water line to the former Eagles Building.

A development project in downtown Keokuk is facing a financial penalty from the city.

The former Eagles building, which is located at the corner of 4th and Blondeau Streets, is being renovated for commercial and residential use.

The project requires the replacement of an older, 1 ½” water line with a new 2” line, with the connection being made beneath Blondeau Street.

That is an issue as city code allows Keokuk to impose a penalty of up to $1,000 because crews will be cutting into a street that is less than 5-years old.

No penalty would be assessed if the relatively new, concrete Blondeau Street was more than 5-years old.

At Large Alderman John Helenthal, who works in construction, says he is more concerned about how the street is repaired.

He says the contractors should have to replace an entire section of the street, as opposed to simply filling in the area removed for the installation of the water line.

The project manager has told the council the street will be replaced on the city’s terms.

Aldermen could decide on the amount of the penalty this week.


The Keokuk City Council must also decide whether to increase funding for a city department.

The city thought $260,000 was a lofty goal for hotel-motel tax revenue during the previous fiscal year.  That is why city leaders were so pleased when the 7%  tax generated $276,000.

Tourism Director Kirk Brandenberger wants to use $7,000 from the additional revenue to expand marketing efforts into the Kansas City and Saint Louis areas.

He believes the council pledged that amount during a previous workshop, but not everyone is in agreement.

Alderman Ron Payne says he has not found any record of a “promise,” adding that the money could be better spent elsewhere in the city.

Several other city council members said they were not ready to give an opinion during last week’s workshop.

Finance Committee Chairman Roger Bryant would like to see the issue voted on this week.

Jason Parrott is a former reporter at Tri States Public Radio.