There’s no damage estimate yet from the tornado that struck the small northeast Iowa town of McGregor last Wednesday, but most of the businesses in the community’s historic downtown have reopened.
Katie Ruff is president of the McGregor Chamber of Commerce. “We do have a majority of our businesses back up and running. Our pharmacy up the street, he said give him till the end of the week. They did receive quite a bit of damage to their building, so they’re getting it turned around pretty quickly,” Ruff said.
The EF-1 twister, with wind speeds of up to 110 miles an hour, went down McGregor’s Main Street. Two building had to be demolished. Jim Engle, who heads the Iowa Downtown Resource Center, says his organization plans to work with Clayton County town to help preserve its historic character through the cleanup and recovery.
“When you think about McGregor and tourism, that’s not a town that has the water parks or the museums. Their charm is their historic buildings downtown and that relationship to the river,” Engle said. Ruff and Engle made their comments on the Iowa Public Radio program “River to River.” Just under 900 people live in McGregor, a town located on the Iowa-Wisconsin border.
No one was seriously injured in last Wednesday’s tornado, but a 72-year-old man died last Friday in an accident related to the storm. Officials say Roger Witter was removing storm debris with a tractor four mile west of McGregor when the tractor rolled and pinned him underneath.
(Thanks to Michael Leland, Iowa Public Radio/Photo courtesy of Carrie Nolan)