MCGREGOR, Iowa — A small city in northeast Iowa still shows the scars of a tornado that hit the picturesque riverfront community earlier this month, but downtown businesses have reopened and visitors are stopping to shop in local stores even as repairs continue.
Electric service has been restored to nearly all buildings in McGregor following the July 19 tornado that pummeled the city, the Telegraph Herald reported .
Katie Ruff, the McGregor and Marquette Chamber of Commerce president, estimates that at least 75 percent of businesses were operational this week.
The tornado heavily damaged two buildings in downtown, the Main Street Mall antique store and INKspiration Tattoo Studio. Crews had to demolish the tattoo studio, but that the owner plans to reopen in another downtown building, Ruff said.
Louise White co-owns a gift and book shop called Paper Moon. She said it’s been difficult to find repair workers and that recent flooding in nearby communities has increased the demand even more.
“They’re so swamped,” White said. “We’re kind of the bottom of the list because we have a roof. It’s not leaking.”
Rebuilding will take time, said City Administrator Lynette Sander.
Many of the damaged buildings are in the city’s historic business district, she said.
Residents and business owners have salvaged pieces of the historic buildings, which can be used to recreate building trim that matches the original. However, building owners aren’t required to restore the buildings to match their original appearance, she said.
The Iowa Historic Preservation Office, Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Economic Development Authority are helping building owners and city officials in the rebuilding process.
“McGregor will bounce back,” Sander said. “You can already feel it.”
Information from: Telegraph Herald, http://www.thonline.com