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Keokuk Weighing Riverfront Projects, Hiring Search Firm

Some Keokuk residents are ready to have more than just a beautiful view along the riverfront in Keokuk.

The South Side Boat Club was the last major enhancement to the stretch of Keokuk's riverfront from the water plant to the sewer plant.  New additions are now in the works.
The Rand Park Pavilion Commission is proposing to build a large shelter house in Victory Park. The South Side Boat Club and YMCA are interested in building sand volleyball courts.

The city council seemed to support the ideas, but aldermen continually questioned how the proposals fit into the city's riverfront master plan and whether they should go before the riverfront development committee.

Mayor Tom Marion said while the master plan is available for review, the committee is another matter.  He said the group has not been active since the South Side Boat Club relocated.

Credit Jason Parrott / TSPR
The South Side Boat Club's move was the last project considered by Keokuk's riverfront development committee.

"We want to get some things down there that will attract attention and be a boon to the city," said Marion.

Marion will reach out to the current members to resurrect the committee in the hope that it will consider the recent requests.

He said there are plenty of good ideas for the riverfront.

"Always, the question is, 'where is the money coming from?'" Marion said.  "If some developer wants to come and put some money in the riverfront, if it is appropriate, we will not turn it down."


Meanwhile, a discussion by the city council that lasted about five minutes Thursday night brought about the most progress to date in Keokuk's search for a new city administrator.

Aldermen reached an informal consensus to have Mayor Marion reach out to Ray & Associates out of Cedar Rapids about leading the search.

Marion said the firm submitted the lowest of three bids at less than $15,000 with a unique guarantee, compared to the other two firms.

“If this individual did not work out during the first year, they would conduct a second search (for) free, other than expanses," said Marion.  "So that's quite appealing."

A final vote on hiring Ray & Associates should occur later this month.  The search is expected to last about 90 days.

"The timeline we are looking at, or I am (looking at), is Oct. 1 to have someone in place," said Marion.  "So we have July, Aug. & Sept. and we are looking at 90 days.  We still have part of June, so if (Ray & Associates) gets going right away, I think we can pull it off."

It's been more than seven years since Keokuk hired Odis Jones as its first city administrator. Jones was only on the job for a couple months before taking a job on the east coast.

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