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New Housing for a Better Looking Keokuk

Jason Parrott
The city of Keokuk is preparing to take down this duplex at 606-608 Concert. The Keokuk Housing Initiative hopes to be able to build new homes where dilapidated properties once stood.

A new multi-agency partnership in Keokuk could lead to the construction of new homes within the city. It's called the Keokuk Housing Initiative (KHI).

Tim Peevler, owner/broker of Peevler Real Estate in Keokuk, said that in recent years he’s become increasingly concerned about the appearance of Keokuk and the condition of homes in the community.

“People always say, ‘Somebody ought to do something,’” said Peevler. “For a really long time, I’ve tried to figure out how we can make our community better. How can we bring some of these neighborhoods back?”

Peevler said the idea he came up with is KHI, which will be a 501(c)(3) organization. He said KHI will work to remove dilapidated properties within the city and replace them with new construction.

“Within the city, we have so many properties that are so far gone, that a lot of times, in a particular neighborhood, that is the house that needs to come down,” said Peevler. “So we would take that house down, we may offer incentives for people to go back and rebuild, or go through our program, so that they have a new property where there once was an eyesore.”

Peevler said the goal is for neighbors to then spruce up their own properties since the value of the neighborhood would increase once the dilapidated structure is gone.

He said several entities will be involved in KHI:

  • City of Keokuk – The city will help in the acquisition and demolition of rundown or dilapidated properties.
  • Keokuk Area Foundation – The foundation will oversee the 501(c)(3) and help distribute funds as donations are received.
  • Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce – The organization will help with the promotion of the program.
  • The Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission – SEIRPC will serve as manage the construction side of the project.
  • Peevler Real Estate – The firm will work with potential homeowners to decide what type of home would work best in a specific neighborhood.

Peevler said KHI is not going to build spec homes throughout the city. He said instead it will work with someone pre-approved by a bank to build a new home.
“Hopefully we will be able to offer different types of homes to fit within that budget,” said Peevler. “We don’t want to put a $100,000 home in a $200,000 neighborhood because the taxes would be too high.”

Peevler served as a panelist during Tri States Public Radio’s “Issues & Ale: Beautifying Keokuk” event. During the discussion, he announced that he, his wife, and his real estate firm will donate $10,000 to KHI through the next five years.

“We’ve been so fortunate with the support we have gotten from the community that no better way to give back is to support a project like this that could benefit everyone,” said Peevler.

He said a full fundraising campaign will get underway once the 501(c)(3) status is secured. He hoped to build one new home before the end of the year.

“I think that there is going to be a tremendous support here,” said Peevler. “I hope we are pleasantly surprised by how this is accepted in the community.”

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