By Mark Weyermuller -
Today marks seven weeks since the tornado destroyed a thousand homes in Washington, Illinois. This week the first home was framed as part of the rebuilding process on McKenzie Street. Residents hope to have building in full swing as the weather breaks in a few weeks.
Some of the construction delays are attributed to weather, insurance claims, building permits, financing, and foundation inspections. The effort by local government and volunteers has received high praise for the most part.
Last week Governor Pat Quinn arrived in a highly publicized media event to give out grants and small business loans. According to the news release, over 2000 victims applied for assistance. There was no word how many were approved. It was a good campaign stop for Quinn (at taxpayer expense), especially since most of the money promised comes from federal sources.
Much of the federal relief funds will go to local government for police overtime and debris removal.
Another story we are following is where all the private donation money is going. Millions of dollars have been raised by groups including sports teams like the Chicago Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks and the Peoria Chiefs. Several private groups we know of including the Washington High School (tee shirt fundraiser) and the local Catholic Parish sent checks directly to victims. The city of Washington is accepting donations and plans to distribute the money at some point.
The City of Washington established a tornado relief fund at Washington Community Bank, located at 1895 Washington Road, Washington, Illinois 61571. Donations can also be made at any Morton Community Bank location.