MADELIA, Minn. (WCCO) — After a fire destroyed several businesses along Main Street, the southern Minnesota city of Madelia is back to work.
The Madelia Police Department shared a video of the eight businesses overnight on Feb. 3. The cause of the fire is still unknown and no one was in the building when it burned.
The city of 2,200 banded together to rebuild as soon as possible. Community members told WCCO’s Nina Moini how they’re working together to move forward.
“Very disturbing watching all that history go away,” Ann Kunz said.
After 25 years of working on Madelia’s Main Street, Ann Kunz’s temporary space around the corner doesn’t quite feel like home. But she’s grateful American Family Insurance was able to stay open.
“Huge relief. The day of fire I kept thinking of I may not be back to work for a little while,” Kunz said.
Seven of eight businesses that burned that night in February are working out of temporary spaces.
“Everybody knows everybody and you just work together. You just want to help each other out,” Kunz said.
“It’s been overwhelming,” Tom Osborne said.
Local accountant Tom Osborne helped start the non-profit Madelia Strong. People have donated almost $400,000 to help rebuild the hole in the heart of Main Street.
“They were planning rebuild before fire was even out,” Osborne said.
Just days after the fire, business owners asked Governor Dayton to help them cut through red tape in order to get back to work quickly.
“My girls, if we don’t work we don’t get paid,” Summer De La Cruz said.
Summer De La Cruz’s salon will be the first business to open back up in just one month, right next to the scene of the fire. It’s a symbol of progress.
But there’s more work to be done at the county and state level through legislation introduced this week.
“That would give them exemption from sales tax on building materials and property tax relief, keep values what they were before the fire,” Osborne said.
The community hopes other small cities will get similar help from the state after large destructive fires. They hope to rebuild and have every business back in a permanent location by the end of the year.