Wadena continues to seek funds as talks resume

Wadena leaders hope this week brings better results than last week as they try to get funding included in special legislative session disaster appropriations.

“They are still reluctant to put in much, if any, of the Wadena project in,” Sen. Dan Skogen, DFL-Hewitt, said.

Talks recessed Friday and were to resume today about what to fold into a disaster relief bill.

The plan originally was for Gov. Tim Pawlenty to call a special session a couple of days after federal authorities decided what financial aid they would provide to help southern Minnesota recover from last month’s floods, but then Wadena asked to be included in the bill.

A series of June 17 tornados destroyed or damaged homes, businesses and public facilities throughout the region. In Wadena, public facilities destroyed included the high school, an outdoor swimming pool, a community center that included an ice rink and parts of the fairgrounds.

Much of the damage was covered by insurance, but a new community wellness center is Wadena’s top funding priority. Also on the community’s list is money to remove debris that had been hauled to an old airport and funds for some school equipment not covered by insurance.

Wadena officials asked the Legislature to approve the borrowing of $20.5 million for the community center.

It appears Senate leaders back the Wadena request, the governor’s office is against it and the House falls in between.

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