by Michael dEstries
Categories: Home.

greensburgAs Greensburg, Kansas begins the slow process of rebuilding after the wake of an F5 tornado back in May, many residents are uncertain when, if ever, the town will ever return to its former self. Even with the recent announcement that Greensburg would be the center of attention for a new documentary headed by Leonardo DiCaprio called Eco-Town, some folks aren’t waiting to see the results. From the article,

“Some residents seeking to rebuild complain of being stymied by construction moratoriums imposed while the town ponders its new direction. Others are considering rebuilding just outside the town limits to avoid what they see as inevitable property tax increases needed to fund the return of police, utilities and other basic services. City leaders haven’t said whether a tax increase is on the table. With all the difficulties, some residents predict that the population will never rebound past about 700 people, roughly half the town’s pre-storm population.”

Experts predict that it may take 5-10 years for the town to fully recover; so Leo’s project will probably be more of a jump-start than a rebuilding project. Either way, there’s one word to consider that might make sticking around worth it: investment. A “greener Greensburg” with an international audience, celebrity association, and cutting-edge eco-technology and design may draw environmentally friendly industries to the area. This would mean more jobs, more tax revenue, and a stable economy. What kind of insurance rates prospective companies face by building in a tornado-prone area remains a question mark. What do you think? Would you stick around?

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About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • sheila

    I left San Francisco to spend the summer in Greensburg, Kansas, and specifically to help plan a sustainable recovery effort. What I’ve found is that even complete devastation doesn’t stop these strong Kansan people. They are determined to rebuild their town, and to do it in a way that they will be proud to pass on to their children and grandchildren.

    Future insurance rates are not an issue here, as all of tornado alley is prone to tornados during part of the year, and this makes up most of the Midwest. But existing incurance plans not covering the damage here (especially State Farm) is becoming a very sad reality. I interviewed one woman this week who had State Farm Insurance since she was first able to drive. Her house was found structurally unsound by 2 structural engineers, due to the way the tornado twisted the house on it’s foundation, cracking beams and walls. State Farm now claims that the damage is just from the house settling over time, and won’t pay a dime.

  • Phill

    Do you know what kind of home they make over there? For example; is it the cheap wood beams and cosmetic brick found in Texas? Perhaps they can go with a greener, yet stronger form of building and they wouldn’t be faced with such destruction? [Not saying it’s their fault, but I’m sure they could’ve had a stronger construction that would help a bit more. Perhaps straw bale is stronger?

  • Jean SmilingCoyote

    Phill, and everyone, of course there is a “greener, yet stronger form of building” which wouldn’t let them “be faced with such destruction.” My public-service web page (URL in the Website box on this template) has links which will get you to a variety. I think the best choices rely on reinforced concrete. Insulating Concrete Forms (“ICFs”) have proven themselves in an F3 tornado in Dane Co. WI. You still need “hurricane clips” for the roof frame. Monolithic Domes are said to be able to take that EF5 that erased Greensburg. I think covering them with earth & living prairie plants (a high-tech Earthlodge) would make it even better. The developing tragedy/scandal is the fact that I contacted both Governor Sebelius and City Administrator Steve Hewitt shortly after the tornado, with this URL and (to Hewitt by USPS) lots more info & offer to work – and the Long-Term Community Recovery Plan, just out, shows they’ve all ignored me and my message. I’ve studied natural hazard mitigation for decades and have a B.A. in Geography. Those who don’t think I’m qualified to share this information & links, should look up Tim Marshall.