Maquoketa ready to repair fire-damaged downtown

The city of Maquoketa is ready to repair.

That's after a fire destroyed several downtown businesses on January 19, 2008. The fire wiped out half of a block on Main Street.

Two years later, the charred remnants still lie where the thriving businesses once stood.

For neighboring business owner Roshelle Ray, it's a visual reminder of what the community lost that day; a thriving business district.

Ray said, “We need to do something to get some of those businesses back."

Now the city says the wait is almost over.

City Manager Brian Wagner said, "We've been working on getting the paperwork with the E.P.A. straightened out because we received one of their clean up grants. A lot of our wait has been trying to get though the red tape that is involved with the federal process."

Wagner said the city is waiting on E.P.A. approval of a couple more issues. Next crews will turn the area into green space.

Ray said, "Hopefully that will happen. But we've had our hopes up for so many times that I'm not sure."

City leaders said the clean-up could start as early as next month.

The city owns the burned out property. As soon as it's cleaned up, they will try to sell it to prospective buyers.

Katie Wiedemann, KCRG-TV

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