KEOKUK — Main Street Keokuk, Inc. and the Better Block Foundation will collaborate to put on a brainstorming event April 18 and 19 to promote and revitalize Keokuk’s downtown.

The series of activities will begin with a presentation by Jason Roberts, founder of the Better Block Foundation, an urban design nonprofit out of Dallas. Roberts' talk, at 6 p.m. April 18 at Lake Cooper Foundation, will focus on how spaces, like Keokuk’s downtown, can use “short-term, high-impact” approaches to city improvements.

Roberts also founded the Oak Cliff Transit Authority and co-founded the Art Conspiracy and Bike Friendly Oak Cliff.

After Roberts’ presentation, attendees will participate in a mini-build project. The mini-build aims to illustrate how to create and implement small placemaking strategies and encourage ideas for larger scale projects. Starting at 7 p.m. in the 600- and 700-block area, residents can help create a public gathering space, public seating areas and a mural installation.

“A great benefit of the project will be demonstrating how bringing people together to implement some shared ideas can plant the seeds for additional projects going forward,” said Main Street Keokuk Inc. Executive Director Joyce Glasscock in a press release on the subject.

For those interested in participating in the mini-build, contact Glasscock at (319) 524-5056 or

At 8 a.m. April 19, Southeast Iowa Regional Planning Commission members will reveal Keokuk’s new comprehensive plan to the public at Lake Cooper Foundation, followed by a 30-minute question-and-answer session. Then, from 9:30 a.m. to noon, participants will gather at community meetings to discuss issues and solutions regarding future downtown initiatives and ideas.

The Better Block Foundation chose Main Street Keokuk Inc. as one of five communities to participate in the two-day planning opportunity.