Keokuk's 2010 Wrap-up

Keokuk is wrapping up the year with a look back on 2010.

Tuesday, KHQA spoke with Mayor Tom Marion as he relived the city's most memorable moments, both good and bad.

"I think things went pretty well in 2010. We had a couple of blips on the radar," said Marion.

One still holding strong is the Roquette lockout.

"This is one financial thing that's really hurt the community. We have 240 or so locked out employees that have no insurance," said Marion.

He says he's asked Roquette to end the lockout, and to give the union workers an extension on their previous contracts until a new one is settled.

"But it hasn't been successful, and right at the moment, it's my understanding that the negotiations are at a standstill," said Marion.

Which means they could go on well into the new year. On the upside, the city has reached an agreement with the Environmental Protection Agency to extend time to separate the storm and sewer systems.

"That was one of the biggest things facing us when we got into office. We went from having 15 years to 20 beginning December 31 of this year, so really it's 22 years," said Marion.

Looking forward into 2011, Marion says there are plenty of projects already underway. The city's been given the go ahead with the Grand Avenue project.

"It will really put the Grand Avenue back in the spotlight. People come to visit Keokuk and it's a really terrible road right now," said Marion.

Grand Avenue is just one of several improvements the city's taking on.

"We're going to gain possession of the Depot down at the riverfront. And there's a proposal to build a museum interpretive center between the two bridges," said Marion.

Residents are really buzzing over two new developments that could brighten the city's job outlook: a water turbine plant called Amjet and an Omega 3 plant called I-Omega. These businesses could possibly bring in anywhere from 300 to 500 jobs.

"Which will just save our lives, really," said Marion.

This was Marion's first year in office.

KHQA plans to follow up with city leaders in Hannibal and Macomb for a year in review later this week.