Mayoral race defines Keokuk's Main Street versus industry
Fri, 01 Nov 2013 18:37:29 GMT —
Keokuk's ten percent unemployment rate will take center stage during Tuesday's mayoral election.
Residents will decide whether their current mayor Tom Marion or his opponent, Melanie Wells, will bring in more jobs to the city.
Wells prides herself in community involvement. She worked to save the old Unitarian Church, now known as the Temple to World Peace. The long-time business owner says her first priority is to energize the downtown with more businesses on Main Street.
"I know the criteria for an industry to come into a town, you have to have businesses. You have to have a hospital, police and fire departments. That's all considered infrastructure and if you don't have the proper infrastructure, then you're not going to get a new industry into this community. So, once we fill up Main Street, I feel we'll be much more marketable," Wells said.
Marion has a legal background, and has served as mayor the last four years. He admits he would have liked to see more jobs come to the area during his last two terms, but he's confident major companies like iOmega and Amjet will do just that in the coming years.
Marion says the downtown area will not succeed without investing in these industries first.
"You have to have people with the money, with the disposable income that can come spend money on Main Street. So, I think the jobs are the most important thing, If you don't get the industries and investors here in town, you're not going to have the money to spend on downtown," Marion said.
Polls will open Tuesday, Nov. 5, from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. for Keokuk residents.