Barnum Business Owners Plan to Stay and Rebuild Following Flood

By KBJR News 1

July 7, 2012 Updated Jul 7, 2012 at 5:58 PM CST

BARNUM, MN (Northland's NewsCenter)---It's been one day since President Obama declared 13 flood-damaged counties and three tribal reservations in the Northland Disaster Areas.

FEMA money to help with repairs is on it's way.

Senator Amy Klobuchar went on a tour Saturday morning of one town which had become a lake in matter of minutes last month.

While the waters have dried-up, the damage costs continue to rise.

Only photos now show what the depth of the water had been but it only takes a walk down the street to see the damage.

"People don't always realize that Carlton County sustained significant damage," Senator Amy Klobuchar said. "It's $32 million of the hundred-some million that was submitted to the feds."

"Our whole downtown was flooded about 50 houses were flooded within that area, 15 commercial buildings, four public buildings," Pat Omen, Carlton County Development Director said.

Omen estimates 100-125 individuals were displaced in downtown Barnum.

The town's population of less than 600

"The flooding took out their businesses, their housing, but they're coming back.," Senator Klobuchar said. "It's Incredible that all these businesses decided to stay and reopen."

One Barnum resident had not one, but three separate businesses that all sustained damage from the flood.

"We have a construction business, carwash and a fitness center," Chad Beaulieu, a business owner said. "I think we took about $500,000 on a hit"

There was little time to save his trailer and bobcat.

"Within 40 minutes everything was flooded at least knee deep or deeper," Beaulieu said. "It was panic, you know. Everybody was rushing, trying to save what they could."

"The fact that that guy in two weeks has basically redone the entire thing is just a tribute to spirit of small towns," Senator Klobuchar said.

With some luck, all three businesses will be open Monday for the first time since the floods hit.

"I think it's going to take a while before everything's back to normal, but you just have to do what you have to do and keep on moving forward," Beaulieu said.

Finishing strong in a fight, that doesn't take place in the ring.

Senator Klobuchar says up to 75 percent of the damage to public infrastructure could be covered by FEMA funds.

The next step being loans for businesses and potentially individual assistance.

FEMA teams will be assessing damage in cities in the coming days.

Jena Pike
jpike@northlandsnewscenter.com

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