Madelia Strong: A Case Study in Economic Resilience

Posted on: July 19th, 2018 by Brett Schwartz

On February 3, 2016, a fire swept through Madelia, MN’s Main Street in the middle of a snowstorm, destroying nine businesses. Today, recovery in the city continues. With more than $250,000 in local support, all eight buildings have been rebuilt, including La Plaza Fiesta, Culligan Water Conditioning, and Hope and Faith Floral.  In responding to this economic shock, this small city of 2,239 people serves as an example to places large and small about what it means to be a resilient community.

The NADO Research Foundation and Region Nine Development Commission, with the support of the U.S. Economic Development Administration, have released a short video, “Madelia Strong:  A Case Study in Economic Resilience” that tells the story of the fire and the recovery.  “At first it was a huge shock and loss, but it also showed how no matter what the situation here in Madelia is, people start looking for solutions,” says Karla Angus, executive director of the Madelia Chamber of Commerce.

Region Nine Development Commission, the region’s economic development district, played an important role in planning and supporting the recovery.  “By being a development commission, the work we do is always tied to our CEDS, the Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy.  There are different goals and strategies within the CEDS such as helping communities respond to different economic shocks like the Madelia fire,” says Nicole Griensewic Mickelson, executive director of Region Nine Development Commission.  “Having the CEDS as our foundation or almost as our strategic plan for the organization helps really define the role that we can play for our local communities.”

Guided by the CEDS and the local economic resilience plan, which was funded by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the U.S. Economic Development Administration, residents are working together to set the course towards a more resilient future that will keep “Madelia Strong” for generations to come.

Says Madelia’s Karla Angus, “We were given opportunities to make us a better place.  And if we want to continue to grow, you need to continue to be planning and thinking ahead.”

For more information, contact NADO RF Associate Director Brett Schwartz at [email protected]

To learn about the CEDS and economic resilience, visit

This video was funded in part by the NADO Research Foundation through a grant with the U.S. Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce (ED17HDQ3030005).  The statements and recommendations contained in this video do not necessarily reflect the views of those entities.

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