MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The rubble remains in downtown Madelia where there was once eight businesses in operation; from a flower shop to a locally-loved Mexican restaurant.Gov. Walz Highlights Minnesota's Vaccination Efforts On Bipartisan Roundtable
“It’s really a tight-knit community. Everyone knows everyone,” Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine Development Commission, said. “[It’s] really, really just devastating to a community of that size to lose essentially a third of their downtown.”
But out of the ashes has grown a new strength for this southern Minnesota town.
“The hashtag and motto right now is ‘Madelia Strong.’ So out of this disaster, it’s really been heartwarming to see the community come together,” she said.
Donations have come in by the thousands.
“We’re approximating that there is about $130,000 that will be going through Region Nine Area Inc. for Madelia Strong Inc., and that’s a group of community leaders that will then decide how the funds should get dispersed,” Griensewic Mickelson said.READ MORE: Wisconsin GOP-Led Legislature Approves Election Law Changes
That is in addition to other grants and funds already totaling more than $250,000. And then there are random acts of kindness and other ways that businesses and schools are paying it forward.
Griensewic Mickelson says they have raised more than $10,000 just in T-shirt sales.
“They ordered 100 the first time, and they were out the door before you knew it,” Madelia resident Caryn Anderson said. “Then it was another 100, and now they order them by the thousand.”
While the fire investigation continues, a major concern for the city is the cost of cleanup — including getting rid of what could be hazardous waste.
The goal is to rebuild Madelia as soon as possible.
“It’s support from a lot of communities because they know the importance of a small community, and the loss of those few businesses, the affect it has on a small town,” Anderson said.MORE NEWS: Future Of Downtown Minneapolis Looking Up, New Economic Numbers Show