Contact: Matt Laible, (612) 673-2786

One year after the tornado, Minneapolis marks progress and challenges ahead

May 22, 2012 (MINNEAPOLIS) To mark the one year anniversary of the tornado that struck north Minneapolis, City leaders today planted a tree at the home of Jan Carstens, whose husband Rob MacIntyre was killed in the tornado. It’s one of more than 3,500 trees that will be planted on the North Side this spring.

The City encourages everyone to mark one year since the tornado by committing to service in north Minneapolis, or in their own communities. Thousands of volunteers have already helped clean up and rebuild the North Side, and many more helping hands will be needed into the future.

“Today, we remember the two lives that were tragically lost and the thousands of lives that were suddenly upended on that terrible day one year ago,” said Mayor R.T. Rybak. “But today, we also give thanks for the thousands of people who did not hesitate when disaster struck and reached out to help neighbors and strangers alike. And today, we give back to the community that has given so much to each other and to our entire city. On this anniversary, I encourage everyone once again to join north Minneapolis residents in their efforts not only to recover, but to make their neighborhood the most vital community that it can be.”

“Driving these streets now, I see signs of progress and hope on almost every block,” said City Council President Barb Johnson, whose ward is on the North Side. “But we know there’s more work to be done, and the North Side is up to the challenge. Our partners in the non-profit community, thousands of volunteers, and our government partners have all helped make tremendous progress, and we’re all keeping our sleeves rolled up to do more.”

“The progress on the North Side is encouraging, and we have the hard work of thousands of people to thank for that,” said North Side City Council Member Diane Hofstede. “It’s also encouraging that we’re seeing more than 3,000 trees being planted in the area this year, and we’re grateful to our partners at the Park Board, Tree Trust, and people across the North Side who have made it a priority to restore the damage to our tree canopy.”

“It’s been a difficult year for many in our community, but at the same time, we’ve also seen neighbors helping each other, strangers making new friends, and thousands of people lending a hand,” said North Side City Council Member Don Samuels. “Through this tragedy, we’ve seen what the North Side can do when we work together.”

As the one-year anniversary of the May 22 tornado in north Minneapolis approaches, residents, businesses, non-profits, the City, the Park Board, and many other partners are making significant progress toward rebuilding and improving the areas hit hardest by the storm. To see the latest facts and figures on the ongoing recovery, have a look the May 2012 Tornado Recovery Update.

Of the 206 properties that suffered major damage in the tornado, 96 percent have been repaired or demolished, or that work is in progress. About three-quarters of those were repaired, and one-quarter were torn down, leaving nine properties that currently have major damage. Altogether, nearly 2,900 repair permits have been issued for a total of $28.7 million in repairs and investment in the community.

However, many neighborhoods still have homes and buildings with less-significant damage that has yet to be repaired. Eighty-one percent of owners who received orders from the City to make structural repairs have taken care of those issues, leaving 196 properties whose owners have not yet made repairs.

For some people, financing repairs has been a challenge, and multiple government, non-profit, and foundation partners have worked together to assist with repairs where possible. So far, those partners have provided nearly $2 million in loans and other assistance to help people fix their properties. These efforts were coordinated through the Northside Community Response Team Housing Committee, which teamed up with the City and neighborhood organizations to door-knock at hundreds of properties to connect with residents, learn about their needs, and provide connections to these resources.

When the tornado swept through the Northside, thousands of trees were destroyed. It’s estimated that about 6,000 park and boulevard trees were destroyed, along with many others on private property. To begin to repair the damage, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board is planting 3,100 new boulevard trees this spring on the North Side, and other programs through the City and its partners have already resulted in hundreds of new trees in the area.

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Published May. 22, 2012