News Dorothy Could Appreciate: Town Flattened by Tornado Comes Back ‘Greener’

Almost a year to the day, Greensburg, Kans. is coming back greener after being virtually wiped out by a tornado that killed 11 people on May 4, 2007. The terrible twister flattened turn-of-the-century brick buildings, stately Victorians, and prairie-style homes.

Now that a water tower and a traffic light have been restored, neighborhoods are coming back to life. Town officials are encouraging returning businesses to install energy-saving lights and rainwater collection systems. ”It will be a stronger, better, greener community,” said Erica Goodman, a newly elected city councilwoman. “I think the green initiative is really what will set Greensburg apart from every other rural community in the United States.”

Forty residences have been constructed to environmentally-friendly specs. They have additional insulation, double-pane windows, and high-efficiency compact-fluorescent lights, according to an Associated Press article. Some structures have larger, south-facing windows to use sunlight for heating and illumination. Returning homeowners are recycling lumber and bricks salvaged from the tornado. A local farm equipment dealership is building a wind turbine to take advantage of the area’s high winds. More are being planned.

Now this writer only hopes the new structures can withstand any future twisters sent Greenburg’s way. By the way, Steve Delahoyde will be returning to this space beginning Monday.

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