2016-03-18 Nicole Region NineA month has passed since a ferocious fire destroyed eight businesses in the heart of downtown Madelia. A drive down Main Street still shows the sight of the ashen debris as a daily reminder. The community of Madelia, with support from its neighbors, has decided to look past what was lost however, and instead focus on the future. Through relief funds, fundraisers and T-shirt sales, affected businesses have begun utilizing the available resources to open temporary locations and resume business. Support to move forward has not only come in the form of monetary donations, but also by means of access to local and state resources.

When we first learned of what had taken place in Madelia on that February 3rd morning, Region Nine Development Commission staff immediately contacted area legislators, including the offices of Representative Walz, Senators Franken and Klobuchar, and the Governor’s office to alert them of the disaster. Since then, the response from the State of Minnesota has been remarkable. Senator Rosen and Representatives Cornish and Gunther have been in close constant contact with Region Nine and the City of Madelia to stay on top of the community’s needs. The magnitude of this event is exemplified when taking into account the size of Madelia. The loss of the businesses has created a heavy economic burden to those affected. Having the Governor issue an Executive Order and having DEED’s Rapid Response Team present needed information to the City of Madelia has provided them access to resources they may have otherwise not known about. It is my belief that action will continue to move forward to support the affected business and property owners on the local, state and federal levels.

Not only have nearby communities and the state come together to lend a helping hand, but Region Nine has invited the Federal Economic Development Administration (EDA) to visit Madelia. Lee Shirey, Economic Development Representative for the Federal EDA, along with Region Nine staff, will be touring the downtown area where the fire occurred and discuss what resources and programs may be available from the Federal EDA.

As I reflect on the past month and the role Region Nine Development Commission has played in assisting the community of Madelia, the significance of collaboration has become clear. The future of Madelia will be a vibrant one, thanks to those who have shown their immediate support.

To learn how you can support Madelia, contact the Region Nine office at (507) 387-5643 or e-mail me at nicole@rndc.org.