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Wadena works to rebuild destroyed community center

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Parts of Wadena’s destroyed Community Center were wrapped like a metal blanket around the heavily tornado-damaged high school on June 17, 2010.

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Since that date, the Wadena community has been looking at ways to rebuild. If Gov. Mark Dayton’s bonding proposal is approved by the Legislature, a new community center could be taking shape.

Wadena Mayor Wayne Wolden said he was pleased the governor included Wadena’s Wellness Center project in his bonding proposal.

“We have strong support in the House from our State Rep. Mark Murdock, who first brought the bill forward in the emergency session in October 2010 and again in the 2011 regular session,” Wolden said in a written statement. “Now, Sen. Gretchen Hoffman will be bringing a bill forward in the Senate as well. This project started at over $20 million dollars and now, with the ice arena rebuilt and removed from the project, we have a $10 million budget with a request for state funds of $4.75 million.

“I believe the governor and the Legislature appreciate that with a $4.5 million local match, we are almost at the 50 percent local share that is usually expected in a bonding project.”

Wolden said the city council knows there is still work to be done to get the wellness center included in the final bill.

“I just want to thank our city staff, council and community members who have worked so hard to get us to this point,” Wolden said.

The multi-vortex EF4 tornado that struck Wadena had wind speeds estimated at 170 mph. The tornado was 1.1 miles wide at its peak and traveled 10 miles before its destructive path ended. About 20 city blocks were wiped out by the tornado in southwest and northwest Wadena.

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Renee Richardson
Richardson is a Pacelli High School graduate from Austin, Minn., who earned an applied science degree from the University of Minnesota, Waseca, with an emphasis in horse management. She worked extensively in the resort industry. She received an associate’s degree from Central Lakes College, where she was editor of the Westbank Journal student newspaper, as well as a summer intern at the Dispatch. She graduated from St. Cloud State University summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications and interned at the St. Cloud Times covering business while attending SCSU. She's been with the Brainerd Dispatch since 1996.
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