The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

June 25, 2014

Children's Museum hurt by flooding

Stored material readied for new location ruined

MANKATO — When 6 feet of water rushed into the lower level of Kato Moving and Storage a week ago, just about everything in the 22,000-square-foot warehouse was ruined.

“It was a nightmare,” owner Jerry Pietz said. “Still is.”

Considering the lower level of the Poplar Street building was used by commercial customers, many of these losses are likely to be recouped by insurance. But that doesn’t appear to be the case for the Children’s Museum of Southern Minnesota, which stored many of its possessions there.

The museum’s losses are in the tens of thousands of dollars, Executive Director Peter Olson said.

Robotic legos. Rocking chairs destined for storytime. Power tools. A donated projector and screen. All gone.

“It’s so much,” Olson said.

An emergency meeting of the museum's board of directors has been set for Friday.

The silver lining is that all of their art supplies were kept out of storage in anticipation of Arts by the River and other events.

“Our immediate programming needs are OK,” he said.

Still, the museum needs help replacing what has been lost. The best way to do that, Olson said, is through monetary donations, either online or over the phone.

The museum was using storage space donated by the company, he said, and the company is doing all it can to help.

The museum is still planning to open at the new site in early 2015.

“We’re determined not to let this slow us down,” Olson said.

The flood appears to have been caused by backups in the storm-sewer system. Among Pietz’s losses were a 1925 Studebaker and the warehouse elevator.

Household goods in storage at his company remain safe, Pietz said.

He hopes the city takes a closer look at storm water problems in this area, which is just north and west of Riverfront Drive in the downtown.


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