Center Point still recovering a year after EF-3 tornado

Center Point still recovering a year after EF-3 tornado

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CENTER POINT, AL (WBRC) -

A year after an EF-3 tornado tore through their city, residents of Center Point are still cleaning up the damage.

The tornado cut through downtown Center Point, causing damage to 350 homes and 60 businesses in the city. It eventually pushed on through to the city of Clay, causing more damage as it traveled over 15 miles. More than 100 people were reported injured and two people was killed.

In Center Point, there are still signs of damage. Building with holes are blue tarps over roofs are not uncommon. Mayor Tom Henderson says the city has spent $550,000 on the clean up so far and currently has $18 million in construction contracts. He says this has brought in around $390,000 in revenue for the city.

Henderson says citizens can expect to see changes coming this week. He says bids are getting ready for the rest of the storm cleanup and he hopes to have it completed in 4-5 months. Additionally, a crew will begin this week to clear debris from the right-of-way.

According to Henderson, the lack of FEMA funds has not helped Center Point or the other cities affected by the January 23, 2012 tornado.

"The federal rules are that you have to have six and a half million dollars worth of damage, debris damage, statewide in order to get that (FEMA funding). The state didn't meet that threshold, so we were not declared a disaster area," Henderson told FOX6 News.

In Trussville's "Pilgrim's Nest" subdivision, every house on one street was flattened, damaged or destroyed. A builder has come in and finished three homes that are now for sale. Several families, however, have chosen to move away and not rebuild.

The tornado completely destroyed the Center Point Elementary School. The principal of the school says that crews are removing the mangled steel from the top of the building this week. She adds that the current plans are to rebuild the school exactly as it was before the tornado.

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