Wadena state tornado aid builds to $6.6 million

Information continues to trickle out about aid Wadena may receive under a state disaster bill.

The latest figure is $6.6 million for the community hits by a June 17 tornado. It would be part of an $80 million disaster-recovery bill legislative leaders and Gov. Tim Pawlenty negotiated.

The bill is to come up during a special legislative session, to be held once the federal government determines how much it will spend to help southern Minnesota recover from last month’s floods. Pawlenty said he intends the session to be no longer than a day and concentrate on flood relief.

Sen. Dan Skogen, DFL-Hewitt, said that federal tornado recovery funds come slower than those following floods.

“When the governor announced that a special session would be held to aid the September flood victims, I requested that disaster relief also be provided to Wadena,” Skogen said. “Our region was devastated by the tornado, losing homes, businesses, community facilities and our high school. I’m very pleased that legislative leaders and the governor agreed to help us recover.”

Wadena money would include $5.2 million to match federal disaster relief. Another $693,000 would be given to the school district to help with additional transportation costs caused by the tornado.

Also, $750,000 would be appropriated to plan for a new community center to replace facilities the tornado destroyed. It would be near or connected to a new high school.

Skogen initially sought $20.5 million for the community center.

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