One of the cities that’s been hardest hit by the state’s economic downturn is seeing some signs that things might be turning around. Keokuk received a grant from the state Tuesday to improve a road to the Roquette Manufacturing plant. Keokuk Mayor David Gudgel says the 246-thousand dollar grant is part of what he hopes is a revitalization of the city. He says this project along with other investment money will create new jobs at Roquette and will allow other “value-added” industries to come to Keokuk. Gudgel says the potential for adding more industries is based on the electric plant Roquett is building. He says the plant will service their needs and phase two will create electricity for other industries. Gudgel says there’s a potential for many other types of industries that have the potential to create hundreds of job.He says most of the companies would partner with Roquett to purchase corn byproducts to make sweeteners, candies and pharmaceuticals. He says Keokuk is trying to turn around a trend that’s seen the unemployment rate rise to eight percent. He says the city is highly industrialized and has had some bad luck in the past few years. He says they believe the companies that’re there are good and will eventually rebound. Keokuk is a city of about 12-thousand people located in the far southeastern corner of the state along the Mississippi River.
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