The University of Iowa

City of Keokuk

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Iowa Counties 

Guided and inspired by an award-winning comprehensive plan finished in 2018, Keokuk is working to usher in a renewed era of progress and vitality—and it’s enlisting the help of University of Iowa faculty and students to do so. Keokuk became the 2019–20 community partner of the Iowa Initiative for Sustainable Communities (IISC). This program in the UI Office of Outreach and Engagement is a campuswide effort to enhance the capacity of Iowa communities to address the environmental, economic, and cultural issues they face today and help them plan for a sustainable future. By taking students out of the classroom and into communities to complete real-world projects, the IISC also is able to help transform learning and teaching at the UI.

Keokuk applied to be an IISC partner because the city was ready to start the implementation phase of the new comprehensive plan, which provides a vision for city priorities and public investments for the next 15 to 20 years. The projects that Keokuk proposed for the IISC partnership was impressive. Faculty, staff, and students in at least 11 UI colleges or departments will work with Keokuk on more than 20 projects throughout the next academic year.

“We are proud of the fact that the types and amounts of projects are diverse and touch all sectors and populations of the community,” says Shelley Oltmans, executive director of the Keokuk Area Chamber of Commerce. “We have high quality projects and community leaders that are ready to utilize the skills and talents of UI faculty and students. Projects range from community-development efforts related to the quality of place amenities like community art and recreation to economic development projects related to infrastructure to redevelopment plans for targeted areas. We also plan to work with students on research projects to learn more about the extent of wicked issues within our community related to poverty and housing insecurity.”

The partnership with the University of Iowa will help with community revitalization efforts and offer Iowa students real-world learning experiences.

City of Keokuk Projects