A week after a fire destroyed a historic block in Garrettsville, the community is rallying to rebuild its commercial center.
A meeting on Friday attracted more than 400 people to help map out a plan to assist the 13 businesses that were destroyed.
A cause of the fire remains under investigation, but state officials believe roofing work may have sparked the blaze.
Relief organizers have formed three groups to coordinate the rebuilding effort. One of the groups will focus on assisting business owners, another will coordinate volunteers and the last group will tackle fundraising.
At Friday’s session, state representatives were on hand to meet with the impacted business owners.
Mayor Rick Patrick said in a statement that “fundraising efforts are going well” and are being handled by the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce.
The mayor said the chamber hopes to iron out by next week how the money raised will be distributed.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to help the owners,” he said. “We are looking into every possibility.”
Christine Pitsinger, who is heading up the volunteers, said about 80 residents have already offered up their time, skills and resources.
“I have any offer of help [the business owners] might want from help rebuilding financial records to builders to movers,” she said.
Tommie Jo Marsilio, a former county commissioner who organized the relief effort, said it was great to see government, the private sector and the community rally at a time of crisis.
For more information about the effort or to make a donation, visit the chamber’s website at www.?garrettsvillearea.com.