Seven Businesses Get Tornado Grant Money

By: Steve Nicoles, Reporter



By Steve Nicoles

IOWA CITY – Three and a half months after a devastating tornado devoured Iowa City help continues to come it. Several Iowa City businesses got thousands of dollars to help recover from April's storm. The Iowa City area chamber of commerce doled out $50,000 to seven small businesses.

Some people might have a hard time feeling sorry for a lawyer. But Frank Santiago is lucky to be alive. He said, “I was in my office. I immediately, instinctively went to my knees. I can hear a roaring sound approaching."

Santiago was preparing closing arguments for a trial when the April 13th tornado destroyed his second floor office at the corner of Clinton and Court streets. He said, “The second just felt like minutes. The best I can describe it was if time really did stand still."

Santiago eventually moved to his new office. The second move following the storm. He hopes to call this room home for a long time. A check from the Iowa City chamber of commerce will help. They gave him $4,000. Santiago is one of seven small business owners splitting $50,000. He said, “I am going to put it in my office account to keep my office running as smooth as I can."

April 13th is a night Santiago will not soon forget. Thanks to the chamber of commerce's donation, he is able to rebuild his business from the ground up. The future is not so bright for the building. The historical society is collecting the bricks. The building is coming down to make way for a six-story apartment complex.

Email Steve Nicoles at

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