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      $5.5 million project at Keokuk airport

      Although there isn't any commercial traffic in and out of the Keokuk airport, there's plenty of private planes that use it every day. So that's why a project to repave the main runway and upgrade lighting is so important.

      Greg Gobble is the airport manager and he said the rating of the current runway is at a level where a total reconstruction isn't required.

      "It's like any kind of construction project like this. The deterioration is going to continue and construction costs of course are predicted to increase over the future as would anything. So currently we rate very highly on our project scoring highly with the FAA as a needed project," Gobble said.

      At first the city expected to fund 5% of the project. But recent changes at the federal level now has Keokuk looking at having to fund 10% of the project. So instead of having to come up with about $260,000, Keokuk is going to have to come up with $533,000. So the mayor and council have to figure out where the extra money is going to come from.

      "There's a consensus of the council that we go ahead and do this. We're looking at possibly doing a line of credit with banks. Where we can get a line of credit for a million dollars and if we use $26,000 of it, we're paying just the interest on that small amount rather then the full million," Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion said.

      The last major construction project at the airport was back in the late 1980's. This current project should last the airport at least 20 years and let the facility accommodate larger planes. Gobble said the airport is something that the city can't afford to lose, as many look at it as being another tool in the economic development toolbox hoping to attract more business.