Keokuk city officials involved in lawsuit with owners church - WGEM.com: Quincy News, Weather, Sports, and Radio

Keokuk city officials involved in lawsuit with owners of deteriorating church

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KEOKUK, Ia. (WGEM) -

Despite new requests, the city of Keokuk says it will not drop a lawsuit filed two years ago to take control of a church they say is in danger of collapsing.

Temple to World Peace owns the church and wants the lawsuit dropped so they can restore it and create a community center.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion says he fears the abandoned, former Unitarian Church on 4th and High Street will collapse because it has holes in the roof and weather has deteriorated it for the last few years.

But, Temple to World Peace leaders say the building is stable and they have big plans for renovations.

"We're a community enrichment group and our goal through education is to enrich our community and we'll be providing classes here like basic things like literacy, basic cooking, computer literacy," said leader Christopher Dailey.

Keokuk Mayor Tom Marion sees the building a lot differently.

"We were quite concerned that is tall is the steeple is... There are houses around there. There's an office next door, so we're concerned that if it did collapse and didn't implode it could cause real damage to people and property," said Marion.

Marion says the city has seen other old buildings come falling down in previous years.

Marion doesn't want to see that happen again and that's why the lawsuit was filed to take control of the church building.

But, Dailey says the most dangerous parts of the building have already been addressed.

And, his group is trying to raise money to fix the church's roof, which is the biggest issue of the structure.

Dailey says he would hate to see such a historic building destroyed.

"The structure was built to last a thousand years or more. To deprive future generations of this building just for the sake of a temporary financial climate, doesn't make sense to me," said Dailey.

There's still no word on when the lawsuit will be heard in court.

In the meantime, Temple to World Peace will hold a town hall meeting August 26th at the Keokuk Heritage Center at 3:30 p.m.

They will answer any questions about their plans for the building.

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