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Many businesses and homes in central Iowa were devastated by tornadoes on July 19. According to the National Weather Service, 19 tornadoes occurred across central Iowa with the most significant damage occurring in Pella, Bondurant and Marshalltown.

In Marshalltown, one of two EF3 tornadoes that day caused significant damage. The tornado developed northwest of Marshalltown near Marietta and traveled southeast on the western side of the Iowa River producing extensive crop and tree damage. The tornado strengthened quickly and took on a wedge appearance as it entered northwest Marshalltown. The tornado went directly through the business district of Marshalltown with EF2 and EF3 damage to many structures, including the county courthouse, which lost the spire off the clock tower. The tornado continued east through housing areas before encountering the Lennox plant on the east side of town, producing EF3 damage once again. The tornado resulted in 22 injuries.

To assist with recovery efforts, Consumers Energy Cooperative, Heart of Iowa Communications Cooperative and Marshall Economic Development (MED) partnered to provide interest-free microloans from $5,000 to $10,000 for established Marshalltown businesses affected by the tornado to help with short-term capital needs necessary to recover.

Each entity has set aside funding for this recovery program, including $200,000 from Consumers Energy Cooperative, $100,000 from Heart of Iowa, and $40,000 from MED. The funds being used are part of each entities’ Revolving Loan Fund (RLF). These RLFs were initially established through the USDA Rural Economic Development Loan & Grant program. Providing these local organizations with funding to establish revolving loan funds will ultimately create and retain jobs or provide needed community facilities or services in the respective communities.

This disaster response program will exist for six months or until the funding approved for the program has been fully utilized.   

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