Full update on Tuscaloosa tornado recovery a year after 12 percent of city damaged/destroyed


Life blooms in Forest Lake (Daily Bama Blog photo)

We took a break from sports coverage to write an update on the city of Tuscaloosa’s recovery. On this first anniversary of the tornado, read what I wrote for the print editions …

TUSCALOOSA — The 15th Street corridor is under construction.

Landmarks such as the Taco Casa near the McFarland Boulevard intersection reopened months ago, and its neighbor McDonald’s is nearing completion.

Just blocks from the construction sites are large unoccupied fields. Meadows of tall grass sit where tree-lined neighborhoods such as Cedar Crest and portions of Forest Lake once stood.

Tuscaloosa continues to rebuild from a direct hit it took from an EF4 twister on April 27, 2011. About 12 percent of the city was leveled a year ago Friday when a tornado carved a straight line through the city, damaging or destroying 5,362 residential structures, along with 356 commercial buildings.

The buzz at City Hall is “the work never ends down here,” according to the staff of eight in the Incident Command Center.

“I think we’re further along than we ever expected to be at this point,” Incident Cmdr. John Brook said. “We’re starting to see the glimpses of what the future will be with the things that are happening.”

To date, 99 percent of the debris has been removed. Permits have been issued for 2,286 residential repairs and 206 new construction jobs. On the commercial side, 290 permits have been issued.

Click here to read entire story.

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