MADELIA, Minn. (KMSP) - Steel girders sprout from the soil. A new roof emerged on Tuesday. And a restaurant, the last of the destroyed businesses to re-open, is now operating in a temporary location.
The signs of Madelia healing are all around town — five months after the February 3rd fire that leveled eight businesses forming the centerpiece of Main Street. However, money promised from the state has not arrived. A $1.2-million grant and $140,000 sales tax exemption were part of the tax bill that Governor Dayton would not sign because it had a $101-million error. The governor supports a special session, but partisan debate over budgeting has kept that from occurring.
Instead, kindness from individuals and businesses has fueled the healing.
“We’re not waiting for them to do anything,” said Tom Osborne, a spokesperson for Madelia Strong, a non-profit that’s raised more than $400,000, “Our goal was to make sure that everybody displaced by the fire was taken care of so they wouldn’t leave. And wanted to make sure every business would stay here, too.”
La Plaza Fiesta, the town’s Mexican restaurant, is a sign of how the community has relied on donations and generosity. "Madelia Strong" made sure the restaurant’s employees had money so they would not leave town. The landlord of the destroyed building helped the restaurant owners with moving into a temporary location, a golf clubhouse. Donations helped pay for a 28-foot kitchen truck.
“Madelia Strong made sure we were all taken care of, our employees were taken care of, because that was my half my battle. Because if my employees didn’t stay we wouldn’t be here,” Krystal Hernandez, co-owner of La Plaza FIesta, told Fox 9, “I don’t even know how to say thank you to everybody. I just wish I could find the words because it’s been a really long five months, but I know it’s going to be better in the end.”
Another sign of healing: the town’s 41st annual Madelia Park Days continues this weekend, with fireworks on Friday and a Blues Festival on Saturday. More info here.
More information on donating to Madelia can be found at visitmadelia.com.
Statement from Office of Gov. Mark Dayton
Governor Dayton strongly supports the provisions within the Tax Bill which would provide a $1.2 million grant and a $140,000 one-time sales tax exemption on construction materials, to be used for reconstruction purposes in Madelia. Those tax provisions are urgently needed for the people and businesses of Madelia, which have been impacted by this devastating fire.
However, the Governor could not sign the Tax Bill, because it contained a $101 million drafting error. Since the conclusion of the Legislative Session, Governor Dayton has repeatedly called on the Speaker of the House to agree to terms for a Special Session, including the correction of the Tax Bill, in order to provide urgently needed disaster relief to the people of Madelia, and additional middle class tax cuts for Minnesotans.
Governor Dayton strongly believes there should be a Special Session, in order to provide relief to the people of Madelia as quickly as possible, and provide needed tax relief to hundreds of thousands of Minnesotans.