Since Fairdale didn’t qualify for federal aid, and there are no state or county funds designated for disaster relief, those involved in the town’s recovery have turned to private sources and public donations.
Former Sycamore City Manager and NIU Vice President Bill Nicklas is now a private consultant, and was tapped to organize Fairdale’s recovery effort. He says most donors to the designated official funds have come from this region…and some have no direct connection to the town.
Nicklas says rebuilding of the damaged or destroyed homes and buildings in town is well underway, and that only a handful of Fairdale residents have chosen not to return.
Those who have stayed have utilized the assistance of volunteer case workers, who help them with the myriad bureaucratic matters and the amounts of paperwork generated by the recovery process. Nicklas notes that these volunteers have proven to be just as valuable as those who showed up in the days following the disaster for rescue and clean-up.
The town’s infrastructure is also being upgraded; roads had been damaged by the storm and by the many heavy vehicles which came through, but new ones are being laid out. And a central septic system is being developed, to replace individual systems which had been aging and near capacity even before the storm hit.