Mayor Marion: Unitarian Church Scheduled for Demolition on Election Day

Tuesday morning will be busy throughout Lee County with city elections taking place but in Keokuk another large undertaking will begin. According to Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion, construction equipment is beginning to arrive at the Unitarian Church at 4th and High Street ahead of its scheduled demolition.

Marion’s schedule is based on that of Keokuk Contractor’s which won the low bid of 174 thousand dollars to demolish the long-standing church amidst consternation from preservationists. The Keokuk City council finally approved of the demolition of the Unitarian Church during the October 5th regular city council meeting. Part of the month long wait has come as the result that Keokuk Contractors had to wait on a specialty subcontractor to take down the tallest part of the church.

If current plans hold, drivers heading to the polls Tuesday morning will be able to witness the initial phase of the Unitarian Church demolition if they pass by 4th and High Street.

Update:

The final appeal has been heard and it has been confirmed that beginning Tuesday morning, the demolition of the Unitarian Church in Keokuk will begin. During workshop at Thursday’s Keokuk City Council meeting, former Christ Vision board members Christopher Dailey and Melanie Wells made a last ditch plea to save the church. Wells notified the council that ownership of the church has been transferred to the Historic Preservation of Keokuk group headed by David Romaine, Rod Tinson, and Patricia Whiteside. According to Wells, the group could have liability insurance on the building as early as Friday night. Dailey stated that he thought the group would have more time to complete transfer of title and attain insurance but the council gave the group 3 weeks on August 17th which was 10 weeks ago. Mayor Tom Mayor reminded the council that a contract has been signed with Keokuk Contractors for the Unitarian Church that has been signed and the city could be held liable for if it was reneged on and the council raised no objections to moving forward with demolition.