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$207,000 contract awarded to remove fire debris

Mayor: Town will have to obtain loan, seek donations

PROPHETSTOWN – Prophetstown is faced with yet another obstacle to rebuilding its downtown.

Tuesday night, the Prophetstown City Council awarded a contract to clear the rubble to Fischer Excavating, of Freeport, for $207,306.23 – but the building owners’ insurance policies might not cover the cost, Mayor Steve Swanson said. 

“Several of the owners are underinsured,” he said. “How many? I don’t know at this point. We had to send [a] letter for permission to be in contact with insurance companies.”

Once the town, which may be responsible for some of the cost, gets the information from the insurance companies, it will know just how much is needed to clear its downtown, Swanson said.

The town likely will obtain a loan from Farmers National Bank and get money from the “Rebuild Prophetstown Strong” fund, which also was set up at the bank, Swanson said. The town hopes to get some donations to help with the cost.

Work, which could start as soon as Aug. 27, will take 3 weeks to complete, he said.

The town received five bids to clear the rubble from the eight buildings destroyed during the July 15 fire. Fischer Excavating’s was the lowest.

You can help

Several efforts have begun to help victims of the July 15 fire:

• Prophetstown has set up a fund, "Main Street Fire Victims," to help people start to rebuild their lives. Donations can be made at any of the three Farmers National Bank branches, in Prophetstown, Geneseo and Morrison.

• Prophetstown has set up a fund, "Rebuild Prophetstown Strong," to help clean up and rebuild the downtown. Donations can be made Farmers National Bank branches, in Prophetstown, Geneseo and Morrison, as well as IH Mississippi Valley Credit Union locations.

• Cragel’s, 345 Washington St. will host a fundraiser from 4 to 8 p.m. Aug. 24, featuring a 50/50 raffle, a silent auction and guest bartenders, including first responders and Mayor Steve Swanson, organizer Julie Pope said. Proceeds will be donated to the "Main Street Fire Victims" fund. For more information or to make donations, call Pope at 815-632-7806 or Muck Meier at 815-590-7756.

• Tampico residents Kate Fisk and Jamie Mosher are selling "Support Prophetstown" T-shirts for $15 or $17, depending on size, and hoodies for $30. According to a Facebook account, money raised will go to support victims of the fire. Orders can be dropped off at the following locations: Prophetstown Park District, 410 W. Riverside Drive; Kickback Saloon, 102 N. Main St. in Tampico; and Adami Insurance, 712 First Ave. in Rock Falls. To order or get more information, call 815-766-0732 or 815-499-4160.

• Prophetstown resident Sena Warkins, owner of Imprintable Memories in Rock Falls and niece of the owner of D's Variety, which burned in the fire, is selling "We will rebuild" T-shirts for $20. The shirts feature a collage of color photos of the fire and the downtown buildings. Warkins is also selling coasters and mouse pads. Money raised will go to help rebuild the community. Orders can be made by calling Warkins at 815-535-0931 or 815-499-0201.

The future of P-town

Prophetstown is working to rebuild its downtown after last month's fire. The rubble could be cleared by the end of September.

How should the village try to rebuild its downtown? What businesses do you think the town should have there once it's rebuilt?

Contact reporter Matt Mencarini at 815-625-3600, ext. 529.

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