Nearly seven months after a fire gutted downtown Madelia, the small town continues to rebuild with the help of state and federal funds.
The latest round of help comes in the form of a combined $200,000 in state and federal economic development grants.
The U.S. Economic Development Administration awarded the southern Minnesota town of 2,200 residents a $100,000 economic grant in September, which will be matched by another $100,000 from the state.
The fire that roared through downtown Madelia on Feb. 3 destroyed eight businesses, but within months all were back up and running in new locations. The city is in the process of rebuilding its downtown. The cause of the fire has not been determined.
“This grant will help support continued economic recovery efforts along Main Street,” Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said in a statement announcing the September grant. “I am confident that Madelia will rise from the ashes even stronger than before.”
According to the announcement, the grant will “support the development and implementation of a resiliency and communications plan for the City of Madelia [and] will also help create jobs and strengthen the local economy.”
Proposed veterans cemetery gets grant
The state has been awarded an $8.3 million grant from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a 19-acre veterans cemetery near Duluth.
The grant will help develop infrastructure and burial spaces for more than 18,000 veterans and eligible family members. It is designed to allow veterans to be buried closer to their loved ones in northeast Minnesota.
The state applied for the federal assistance in August.
Currently, the VA operates a cemetery at Fort Snelling near Minneapolis and the state operates veterans cemeteries in Preston and Little Falls.
State declares emergency in storm-soaked counties
Gov. Mark Dayton declared a state of emergency last week in nearly two dozen Minnesota counties hit hard by late September storms and floods.
The governor’s emergency declaration covers Anoka, Blue Earth, Cottonwood, Dodge, Faribault, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Hennepin, Houston, Le Sueur, Mower, Nicollet, Olmsted, Ramsey, Rice, Scott, Sibley, Steele, Wabasha, Waseca, Washington and Winona counties. The region was battered by rains that began falling on Sept. 21 and led to widespread flooding and damage to private property and public infrastructure.
The storms came on the heels of months of severe weather that raked through the region. State agencies have sent teams into the storm-damaged counties to provide assistance and evaluate the damage.