Big story was after the fire |

Big story was after the fire

It was an amazing story. It was a case of the check actually being put in the mail, and quickly at that.

The March 20 fire that struck historic downtown Nevada City made headlines throughout the state and beyond, but that was only the start of the really big story. Not long after the flames were extinguished at the old Elks Lodge building and the structure was declared ruined, folks were assessing the damage to the community and moving quickly to do something about it.

The businesses in the building were devastated, as were the people who worked for them. So about a half dozen people got the timely and bright idea to do something for out-of-work employees and displaced entertainers.

Their plan, the “Help Heal the Heart of a City,” put together in less than a week, was to hold a fund-raiser for the workers and entertainers. Last Thursday, about 22 businesses donated a percentage of their proceeds for the workers and entertainers, along with waiters and bartenders who donated tips. There was even money coming in from people and businesses before the event. And we’re sure a number of folks also made a point of patronizing downtown Nevada City that Thursday as well, just to do their part.

Donations were brought in to the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, which has joined forces with the Nevada County Cultural Preservation Trust to administer the Nevada City Fire Relief Fund.

Donations have totaled about $28,000 so far, much of it from the event last Thursday. With the same speed with which the event was launched, chamber staff divided the money into checks for 61 displaced workers and performers, or $400 each, and mailed most them Friday afternoon. No delays. No lengthy deliberations about how to best allocate the funds.

It’s a pointed reminder that downtown Nevada City remains a vibrant, happening place even after the fire. And it’s a powerful indication of how the town can pull together to help those in need. That’s the real big news.

The community’s largess will not end there. There is also slated a fire victims benefit at Miner’s Foundry Cultural Center for April 14. The event, which runs from noon until 9 p.m., will feature live music, dance, theater and poetry, along with an auction.

It’s not too late to contribute to the fund, either. Donations to the Nevada City Fire Relief Fund can be sent in care of the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce, 132 Main St., Nevada City, 95959. Call the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce at 265-2692 for more information about the fund. Information about the upcoming benefit is also available from the chamber or the Nevada County Arts Council at 271-5955.

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