The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

February 28, 2014

Tornado recovery slows to a crawl

(Continued)

Demolition could prove to be a pricey option. “Obviously, that would be taxpayer money,” said Wellman. “We have an unsafe building fund. That’s where the money to bring them down would come from.”

One thing that may help with the recovery is the recent U.S. Small Business Administration disaster declaration for the area. S.B.A. representatives were in Washington two weeks ago and took 17 applications for low interest loans to help with the rebuilding process. S.B.A. officials said many of those seeking help were finding that their insurance was not covering all of the costs for replacing the damaged property. That declaration came three months after the storm and after Federal Emergency Management Agency officials twice declined to provide grants to rebuild the area. “I think that decision has had an impact,” said Goss. “If that declaration had gone through the recovery would have been much faster.”

The lingering problems are a concern for the community. “I feel uncomfortable when I go down into the neighborhood and see homes that still have blue tarps on the roof and boards over the windows,” said Goss.

For the city the fix up or tear down options are in motion.

“Our goal is to move it a fast as we can,” said Wellman. “I want it to go faster, but we have a process we have to work through and we just have to go through it.”

That process will take months. Months to fix damage left behind by a storm that only lasted for a matter of minutes.

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