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Keokuk Depot Lands Challenge Grant

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The effort to restore the Keokuk Union Depot is getting some outside help.

The Jeffris Family Foundation provides money to restoration and preservation efforts in small towns throughout the Midwest.

Organizations must be invited to apply for the competitive grants.

Keokuk Union Depot Foundation President Janet Smith said the group was invited to attend based on a visit by the Jeffris Family Foundation last year.

She said that invitation resulted in a challenge grant for the depot worth $333,000.

Smith said the money would be used to restore the roof to its original form.

"(The plan is to restore the roof) to its original height, the chimney (to) the original height and the red clay tiles on the roof, rather than the green asphalt tiles that are there now."

Smith says the challenge grant requires a local match.  She says the foundation must raise $667,000 to secure the grant money.

Smith says a public fundraising campaign will soon be announced, though donations to the project are always being accepted.

The Union Depot served asthe city's train station from 1891 until the end of rail passenger service to Keokuk in 1967. The building served other purposes including office space and storage since then.

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