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Efforts to rebuild Butte's iconic M&M get a boost from $25K grant

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Posted at 5:40 PM, Feb 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-17 19:40:02-05

BUTTE - Not much is left of Butte’s iconic M&M after it was destroyed in a fire last May, but there’s a chance it could be rebuilt thanks to an economic grant that can get the process started.

The Butte Local Development Corporation secured a $25,000 grant from the Big Sky Trust Fund Program to help the owner hire an engineering firm to design a rebuild plan.

“Begin to do those drawings, begin to do that engineering architectural work, say, ‘Okay, what does it take to replicate this historic building? What does it take to fill this gap in the middle of our Uptown?’” said BLDC Chief Executive Joe Willauer.

A fire last year destroyed the famed bar and cafe that has been at its location on Main Street since the 1890s. Owner Selina Pankovich has vowed to rebuild.

The BLDC says the grant is just the first step in a long process. The grant was awarded because the M&M was important to Butte’s economy.

“Of course there’s the job creation, of course there’s the economic activity tied with it, but it’s such an institution for the state of Montana that they love to support those types of projects that have that big impact,” said Willauer.

Many people took the loss of the M&M in Butte very personally, so many businesses and people donated their own money to try to help bring back the historic business.

“Yeah, it’s definitely as broad-based of community support as you could ever see, because it is such an incredible business and such a terrible loss for Butte,” said Willauer.

The owners of 5518 Designs have also raised about $70,000 in donations to help rebuild the M&M through the sale of special shirts and hoodies.