Maquoketans will face challenges as the city bounces back from the coronavirus pandemic and major infrastructure overhauls in the next two years. 

However, the results will be worth it, especially as the city will pay for only about one-third of the $30 million-plus projects happening in town, according to Maquoketa Mayor Don Schwenker. 

Schwenker painted this trying but optimistic outlook for the city in his “State of the City” address to the Maquoketa City Council Feb. 15. His remarks are printed below:

As we begin another year in Maquoketa, we have to look back on everything we endured in the last year. Making accommodations to the pandemic with the closing or modification to all of our businesses and drastically changing our way of life. It has been a trying time but we persevere. We accept the challenges presented and strive to thrive going forward as we look forward to returning to more of a normal.  

Maquoketa is taking on big challenges in the next two years. It will try our patience and excite expectations once completed.

Platt Street: $11 million project completely reconstructing the Highway 64 corridor. The interruption to businesses will be our main focus. We will do our best to minimize the disruption. We will have the same weekly meeting to keep people informed as to the construction schedule and changes. Detours will cause traffic challenges. We will do our best and adapt on the fly as things change.

South Main trail and bike path are going to be in the engineering phase for the 2022 construction year. We are working on a plan to decrease the amount of traffic congestion created from this project and the added flow from Platt Street. This is a $2 million project.

Storm water levee improvements: The engineering is in progress to improve the flood problems and prepare us going forward with less problems and man hours. $2.8 million dollar project.

Wastewater treatment plant improvements: The engineering of the renovations to the wastewater treatment plant have begun. The goal is to ensure we meet the water emulsion standards set by the Department of Natural Resources.  This is a $12.5 million project.

(We balance) all of these projects while finishing the redevelopment of the 110 S. Main building and the Mitchell Maskrey building. We welcome the new business these opportunities made possible. Dollar Fresh will be completing their addition to the south end of town and Moore Family Farms expansion on the east end of town. We are completing the west side facade project, the pocket neighborhood, and a few other projects I am leaving out. 

There is a lot of exciting things happening in Maquoketa. 

The total expenses of all of our projects total over $30 million. Know that we are keeping the city’s financial interests at heart with many of these essential projects and upgrades. We have secured grants and financing that leaves our participation and financial obligation around $10 million to $11 million dollars — or about one-third of the total cost. 

We need to keep focused on the future but complete the projects we currently have going on. Let’s put some of these projects in the review mirror before pursuing more. The next few years will be complicating all by themselves. 

With all of this going on we must also find a new city manager to help us navigate this turmoil and lead us into the future. Stand by, help out, but most of all be patient.