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Tornado Disaster Recovery Grant now available to business owners

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ After the July 19 tornado, the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) established a tornado relief fund. Since that time around $50,000 in private donations has been collected for the fund. The MCBD will now distribute that money to downtown business owners looking to repair and reopen their establishments. Applicants do not need to be MCBD members.

After the July 19 tornado, the Marshalltown Central Business District (MCBD) established a tornado relief fund. Since that time around $50,000 in private donations has been collected for the fund. The MCBD will now distribute that money to downtown business owners looking to repair and reopen their establishments.

“With this funding, we decided that the businesses needed help, and those people aren’t necessarily building owners,” MCBD Director Jenny Etter said.

Businesses may apply for this funding now. Grant applications are due Fridays and awarded the following Monday.

Each recipient will receive up to $2,000 intended to help supplement money from insurance providers. Various applicable projects may include, but are not limited to awning replacement, sign creation, washing the building, replacing a window, a paint job, etc.

“We know that’s a drop in the bucket for some folks, but we only have $50,000 and that won’t go far if we gave people $10,000 — then we’d only be able to help five people. This could fund a small project that could make a difference in how their business looks,” she said.

Eligible businesses must have been in operation prior to the tornado, had damage from the storm, plan to maintain his or her business downtown, and be able to provide documentation supporting proof of insurance.

“I want to have a pretty good idea about what their insurance is paying for, and then see what their needs are after they’ve made those improvements and used that insurance money for that,” Etter said. “We don’t want to supplement what they’re doing if they aren’t using their insurance money, and we know even if they had insurance, it doesn’t pay for everything.”

Priority will be given to businesses that have a large downtown impact, have planning and documentation of project expenses in the applications, are working to resume full operations and have projects that can be completed prior to May 1, 2019.

“The board was intent on getting the money out quickly because people need it now,” Etter said.

Applicants do not have to be members of the MCBD.

Nate McCormick, MCBD president, said this grant is not the only funding option the organization is working to develop.

“This is a small piece of what we want to do. We are working with state and federal agencies but it takes a lot of time to get those funding sources,” he said. “We wanted to release this funding now because this is something we can do quickly to give people that little help to get them operational.”

To celebrate the downtown businesses that have reopened, the MCBD, CVB and Chamber are cosponsoring “Marshalltown Strong Day” on Oct. 13. An informal affair, the aim is to remind the public to shop local, support Marshalltown businesses and enjoy the dining options available.

“People are positive and really looking to the future to make things brighter and better than they were before,” Etter said. “By the end of next year, I think the downtown is going to be absolutely beautiful. It feels great to be a part of that.”

To donate to the tornado recovery fund and to view the application page to receive the grant funding, visit

www.marshalltownmainstreet.org. Etter may be reached at 641-844-2001 and director@marshalltownmainstreet.org

The MCBD, founded in 2002, is a non-profit organization.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com