BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
KEOKUK – With a 20-foot hole about 60 feet across and earth movers as a back drop, the Connection Bank Board of Directors and dignitaries broke ceremonial ground Wednesday morning on a new state-of-the-art banking center in Keokuk.
The bank is creating the new space and will be deeding their old location in the 500 block of Main Street Keokuk over to the city, which lost its facility in fire in February of 2019.
The new site has been a fill hole for many years and construction crews are having to dig up some of the fill to get to start over on the site.
“As you’ll see, we’re digging a big hole, said Connection CEO Matt Morris through a red, white and blue face covering.
“We’re diggin’ that hole 20 feet deep so we can hit good soil and start he process of filling that hole back in.”
Morris said he wanted to be sure everyone was aware that the bank is spending a lot of time making sure the 9,000 square foot bank building can be put on the site.
In December of 2015 Fort Madison Bank and Trust closed on the acquisition of Keokuk State Bank and leveraged the two operations into Connection Bank and Insurance Services.
“The entire Keokuk community and our customers have made this decision to make this investment an easy one. They’ve supported us from day one and we’ve never been happier to be part of the Keokuk community.”
Morris said the Keokuk building will be similar in architecture and style to the Burlington Connection Bank facility Baxter Construction built several years ago. Baxter is also overseeing the construction of the new Keokuk facility.
Morris said of lot of southeast Iowa contractors and subcontractors will be used for the project.
“It’s nice to be able to put those dollars back into communities that also support us, especially in a time now where there is uncertainty and unrest, not only in our communities, but also in the country in general.”
Morris said he hopes to have the project completed after the year end holidays. He said the pandemic forced the project to slow down with the uncertainty of the virus progression. But now things seemed to have eased to the point where work can begin on the project again.
Mike Hickey one of the Connection Bank directors and a resident of Keokuk, said the town has a history of community banks and at one time they had five.
Hickey said when Keokuk State Bank sold he was concerned about the future of the hometown connection to a bank, but after meeting with Connection owners knew the hometown bank would be preserved.
Keokuk Mayor Tom Richardson thanked the board for putting up the bank, and also for the partnership between the bank and the city.
“Through this whole process your gonna get a brand new state-of-the-art facility something you can be proud of,” Richardson said.
“And when you vacate your structure, the City of Keokuk is going to renovate the building at 501 Main Street and we’re going to have a state-of-the-art City Hall and also a state-of-the-art Council Chambers – something we can all be proud of.”