Supervisors offer support to Keokuk Library park


MONTROSE – A group of Keokuk volunteers spearheading the ongoing work for the Keokuk Library Park asked for the county’s support of the project going forward.

Jack Smith and Duane Taylor, members of the Keokuk Public Library Foundation, along with Mike Dunn, who’s worked with U.S. Dept. of Agriculture grants, spoke to the Lee County Board of Supervisors during their regular meeting Tuesday in Montrose.

The group was looking for a letter of support from supervisors to be included as part of grant writing processes.

The group in the process of rehabilitating a city block in Keokuk where the current public library stands. The project would be a full library park on a block defined by N. 6th Street and N. 5th Street from Concert St. to High St.

The library currently sits on the southeast corner of the block. The rest of the park will include another entrance on the northeast side, an Art and Sculpture Garden, an amphitheater, performance area, prairie garden with native Iowa plants and shrubbery, and seating throughout.

The park would also include walkways through the terraced and mowed lawns, and would include native shade, ornamental, and evergreen trees.

According to Smith, the group has already spent close to $350,000 on the project, but the next phases will cost close to $900,000.

“About $100,000 of that is contingencies and we have about $350,000 on hand, so that leaves us about $520,000 which needs to be raised,” Smith told the board.

Taylor said right now the group just needed to get a letter of support for some grant applications through a federal Community Facilities loan and grant program.

He also said the group will be looking for a state Community Attraction and Tourism or CAT grant, that will require some matching funds.

“At some point to get that grant we’ll have to come back to the supervisors and ask for some modest monetary support,” Taylor said.

Supervisor Gary Folluo said the county has in the past used it’s share of Hotel/Motel tax funds to help fund matching CAT grant requirements.

“Well, I certainly didn’t want to surprise you at any point,” Taylor said.

In other action, supervisors:

• approved new Iowa Local Workforce Development Board 16 bylaws, 5-0

• approved Farmly farm credits for 2019, 5-0

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