Tri States Public Radio Staff
Mon August 19, 2013
Keokuk Continues Lawsuit Over Church
The Keokuk City Council does not want to drop a lawsuit filed in March 2011 over the condition of a former church.
The city sued the owners of the former Unitarian Church on N. 4th Street in an effort to gain ownership of the property.
The lawsuit describes the structure as abandoned and in violation of nuisance laws.
Keokuk resident Christopher Dailey has asked the city council to drop the lawsuit.
He is part of an effort to transform the church into the Temple to World Peace.
Dailey says fundraising is already underway, with the top priority being to replace the roof to prevent further interior damage from rain or snow.
The city council reached a consensus, during its recent workshop, to follow the recommendation of Mayor Tom Marion and continue the lawsuit.
"I'm concerned that... it is going to be so expensive to rehab that building that they are not going to be able to do it in a timely manner," says Marion, "and the building is going to become more and more unstable."
Dailey says there are 400 worldwide members of the Temple to World Peace.
Marion says the lawsuit is ready to go to trial as soon as a date is set.
He encouraged a meeting between all parties involved in the former church to see if an agreement can be reached on how to proceed.
Meanwhile, the committee behind a proposed musicians’ memorial in Keokuk is taking a new approach to the project.
Hamilton resident Lisa LaMatty says the individuals who started the effort to build the memorial, roughly 6 years ago, are back in charge of the committee.
She hopes the change in leadership will jumpstart the initial enthusiasm.
LaMatty says the committee would like to place the memorial near the Rand Park Pavilion.
"It's not to mourn our musicians," says LaMatty, "it's to show our community the legacy. What better place than where we gather, at a fine arts facility, to continue the legacy of the music in our area."
She says the committee is willing to work with the city on a final location for the memorial.
The actual monument and the accompanying bricks for names have already been purchased, but money is still needed for installation.
LaMatty says a fundraising concert is scheduled for mid-October.