Unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, cost the city an estimated $2 million to city property alone, according to one city official who believes, by the end of an ongoing assessment, the cost will be much higher.
“The city’s public works director, Shelly Billingsley, provided the estimate to local leaders Monday night on what it would cost to replace garbage trucks, street lights, and traffic signals, among other things that were destroyed or damaged in the unrest over the last week,” ABC News reported Tuesday.
The city is insured, but as Minneapolis, Minnesota, residents are now finding out, insurance coverage for riot damage is limited, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune, where “dozens” of business owners are now finding out that demolition costs, particularly, won’t be reimbursed in full.
The damage to city services may also hinder Kenosha’s public works department in the long term. According to Billingsley, the garbage and utility trucks that were destroyed or damaged in the riots that followed an officer-involved shooting that left 29-year-old Jacob Blake in critical condition, function as snowplows in the winter, and the city may not be able to replace them before the first snowfall which, in Wisconsin, could come as early as October.
Those trucks “were parked downtown to provide security and limit movement by protesters, were set on fire during the demonstrations.”
Kenosha’s mayor said Monday that he plans on asking the state and federal governments for assistance, and his initial request is $30 million, with the understanding that that number could climb significantly.
Individual businesses, now picking up the pieces following three nights of nearly unrestricted rioting, looting, and arson, are also finding that the cost to rebuild may be more than anticipated. According to Fox Business, the used car dealership that rioters burned during the first night of unrest, sustained $1.5 million in damages by itself.
“The owners of Car Source in Kenosha told local affiliate FOX 6 Milwaukee the business suffered $500,000 in property damage plus between $900,000 and $1 million in inventory damage during the first night of civil unrest following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man,” the outlet reported. “More than 50 cars were reported to have been damaged in the early Monday morning blaze.”
“Another local business, Dale’s Jewelry, lost $200,000 worth of jewelry and incurred another $200,000 in property damage,” Fox 6 Milwaukee added.
That’s just the beginning. Local media reports include information about dozens of businesses affected by the unrest, and more than a dozen internet fundraisers, designed to help family-owned businesses recover and eventually rebuild, are now active.
President Donald Trump, defying requests by the Wisconsin governor and other Democratic officials to stay away from the riot-torn area, will tour Kenosha on Tuesday and survey the extensive damage left from last week’s unrest. His opponent, Democratic 2020 presidential nominee, Joe Biden, addressed the riots in a speech on Monday but neglected to condemn the violence specifically, instead opting to blame Trump’s rhetoric for ongoing, national demonstrations and subsequent damage.