Road to recovery moving fast in West Liberty

By: Tim Johnston Email
By: Tim Johnston Email

It's been nearly three weeks since the deadly EF-3 tornado turned West Liberty upside down, but signs of progress are evident. Areas that were covered in debris are now swept clean and it's happening quicker than some anticipated.

"It's amazed me at how fast and how we're getting through this," stated Belinda Jordan, a business owner and City Council member.

However, not everything is back to normal. City Hall is still closed and boarded up which means the staff will continue to work out of a small trailer.

"I want to get my City Hall back," said Mayor Jim Rupe.

With the City Hall closed for repairs, the City Council is meeting in a park, stressing the importance of keeping things moving forward and not allowing the storm to stop the city government.

"It's totally different trying to find a space to meet, but thankfully we've had beautiful weather," said Jordan about the meetings held at the Old Mill Park.

"We'll have City Hall back, hopefully, in a month-and-a-half to two months and we'll be out of the trailers and into the building," predicted Mayor Rupe.

Wednesday evening the mayor had some good news for his council. An engineer surveyed the Municipal Building and said it's structurally sound, giving the city the green light to repair the building.

"Our building was lucky," said Mayor Rupe.

"I'll have to put a new roof on, overhead doors," listed the mayor, calling most of the work "cosmetic."

The mayor said none of the repair bill will be carried by the taxpayers, either.

"We're insured. The way I'm understanding it, if it goes beyond the insurance, FEMA will pick it up," answered Mayor Rupe.

With the rebuild, the City Council hopes to inspire the town.

"I think if we start seeing some of that type of stuff, the building opening back up, then that's going to give more hope to the community that we are moving forward," figured Jordan.

The City Council says in spite of the damage, they expect to continue on with special events including the Easter Egg Hunt and the Annual Sorghum Festival.

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