MELROSE -- Melrose is in the process of rebuilding its downtown. A devastating fire destroyed a section of Main Street last September and the city is finally able to pick up the pieces.

With the legislature passing this session's tax bill last month, Melrose will receive just under $1.3 million in disaster recovery funding to rebuild its downtown.

Melrose's Community Development Director Michael Creelman says the grant will be used to help rebuild several areas affected by the fire.

"The $1.296 million dollars is money from the state that is getting awarded to the city so we can basically rebuild our downtown, fix our infrastructure that was affected whether it'd be 1st Street, waste water or water utilities -all of those types of things - and also trying to get the businesses rebuilt, the buildings rebuilt."

Right now Melrose is in the planning stages and discussing different options as to how they want to rebuild their downtown. Creelman says they will likely break ground on the project next Spring. He says the city, along with the business owners, affected by the fire are collaborating to decide the next steps to take.

"As for the redevelopment for the properties, we have been in conversation with the property owners. However, we're not entirely sure what each of their plans are at this point."

In addition, all building material for the properties destroyed by the fire will be exempt from sales tax, which Creelman says will help the city and business owners with the rebuilding process.

Melrose originally requested $900,000 in bond funding to help with the rebuilding project. This funding was not included in the legislature's bonding bill instead the city was awarded the state grant through the tax bill.

Eleven businesses were affected by last fall's fire.

Alex Svejkovsky, WJON
Alex Svejkovsky, WJON

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