Tornado recovery has been a long road for the Walker County city of Cordova. The damage to the downtown business district was so bad after the April 27, 2011 tornado that city leaders decided to tear it down and start from scratch.
However until now, F.E.M.A. had refused to release the needed funding to complete the project.
The hold-up was rooted in history. Cordova was founded in 1859, and F.E.M.A. officials were concerned that if downtown was demolished, a part of the past would be lost.
Before they would approve funding, the organization made city leaders submit photographs and other historical documentation so that an assesment could be made.
"They had deemed that there were adverse effects with losing these buildings with the historical nature and their age and what not. And they wanted to try and preserve what they could," said Cordova fire chief Dean Harbinson who has also been serving as the city's disaster relief coordinator.
Last week Harbinson finally got the word from F.E.M.A. that the city could proceed with the demolition.
"We've been after this for 18 months or longer and it's been hard process, a lot of hurdles we've had to go through. It takes a lot of people working together to get it done," said Harbinson.
1720 Valley View Drive