Committee forming to determine best use for Restore McGregor funds

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Standing in front of the McGregor Public Library, McGregor City Administrator Lynette Sander and Duane Boelman, the city’s deputy clerk and economic development lead, review a stack of checks recently received from donors to the Restore McGregor charitable fund. (Submitted photo)

Just a few weeks after an EF-1 tornado tore through the historic McGregor, the community is rebuilding. Antique and gift shops are open. Bricks and rubble from the most heavily damaged buildings are cleared away.

“We were very lucky,” said McGregor’s City Administrator, Lynette Sander. “No one was injured. Within hours, citizens had pulled their trees and brush to the curb and volunteers with chainsaws were there to help. Currently, our residents are all in safe housing and have food and basic needs fully met. Those immediate most-concerning needs of our people are met.”

In the days immediately after the storm, the community received direct support from Clayton County Emergency Services, the Salvation Army, volunteers and a crew of campers from an outdoor ministry in Minnesota. 

“With power out, Kwik Star distributed fresh food to our volunteers and citizens,” Sander said. “One older couple arrived to help and just wanted to help rake our parks.”

The Clayton County Community Foundation’s Restore McGregor charitable fund was established within 24 hours of the storm and has received contributions from caring neighbors all over the country. 

“Gifts came in from Brooklyn, San Francisco and everywhere in between,” said MJ Smith, director of affiliate foundations for the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque.

Central State Bank, whose McGregor and Marquette locations have served as drop-off sites for donations, has also been a great partner, Smith added.

As of last week, over $14,000 had been raised to help victims and their families affected by the July 19 tornado. 

“We are convening a citizen committee in the next month to determine the most important ways we can use these donations to leverage and accelerate our restoration,” said Duane Boelman, the city of McGregor’s economic development lead. “With the immediate human needs met, we are considering the Restore McGregor funds as match for historic building repairs and improvements. This fund will actually be part of our long-term strategy to come back stronger than ever.”

“This is an amazing community,” Sander added. “Together, I believe we will turn this storm into a growing opportunity.”

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