City of Bowling Green breaks down data, numbers amid rebuilding efforts over the year
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Tornado recovery in Bowling Green has taken a city-wide effort and for one city leader, that’s been the focus of his work for the last year.
“It’s been really remarkable how much recovery has taken place over a year,” said Brent Childers, Director of Community and Neighborhood Services.
Across the city, recovery continues as homes and businesses are being rebuilt.
“It’s amazing to see the amount of construction that’s taking place,” said Childers.
The city estimates that the 2021 tornadoes caused $100 million in structural loss and that doesn’t include all the cars and the contents of people’s possessions that were destroyed. 475 residential units were moderately or severely damaged, another 505 had minor damage, 90 business properties were damaged which affected around 120 businesses.
Additionally, FEMA has reimbursed the city $4.1 million over the year as the city took on major expenses to help with debris cleanup. They’ve also used $1.6 million from the state government’s ‘Safe Fund.’
Now, construction work is a common sight throughout the city and county. The city has issued permits for more than 320 residential units.
Another focus on recovery has been devoted to trees as around 3,000 trees were lost in last year’s tornadoes. Meanwhile, groups like Operation Pride have been working to help the city see a little more green by holding free tree giveaways.
“That really gave an identity and character to our neighborhoods, but we know that we had to start somewhere,” said Childers.
However, Childers adds that recovery is more than just numbers, construction and replanting trees.
“The emotional loss that the community suffered is something that will ring true for years to come,” he said.
Seventeen community members didn’t make it to December 12 and Childers said we must never forget them.
“They were members of this community, just the same. They were part of our schools. They were part of our businesses. They were part of our neighborhoods. They were part of the community and so we can forget that there are people that didn’t make it through, even though the rest of us are still trying to recover.”
And in that recovery, Childers said he finds hope.
“You get to see the true spirit of a community come through. You get to see the resilience of the people because the community is nothing more than the collection of people that reside there.”
Anyone still needing cleanup assistance can go to https://www.bgwcdisasterrecovery.org/ and click the ‘Disaster Recovery’ dropdown and then ‘debris.’
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