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Keokuk gets $600K to revitalize abandoned downtown buildings

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Keokuk was awarded $600,000 to revitalize a section of buildings in the 600 block of Main Street.

The City of Keokuk has received a $600,000 grant to revitalize a section of Main Street.

In collaboration with Keokuk Main Street Inc. and Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission, the city applied for Downtown Housing Grant funds to renovate three buildings located in the 600 block of Main Street.

The buildings were abandoned about six years ago.

Keokuk City Administrator Cole O’Donnell said plans call for building three new adjacent buildings with new retail space and storefronts on the first floor and 10 apartment upstairs. The new housing will be rental units and will not be income restricted.

O’Donnell said the city is contributing $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act plans to aid the project. He said the city is also pursuing two additional $100,000 grants for the project to reach $1 million to meet the Downtown Housing Grant’s required match.

O’Donnell said the renovation will help reinvigorate Main Street.

“It helps inject a little revitalization into the downtown, which attracts people down here, but at the same time attracts people to Keokuk and helps the community overall,” O’Donnell said.

The city plans to solicit proposals from developers soon.

But O’Donnell said there is currently no timetable for the project.

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