PIGLER, Nebraska – The mayor of Greensburg traveled to Nebraska earlier this week where the town of Pilger is trying to recover from a powerful tornado. Officials say the recovery is slow but progressing.
“We’ve had 35 zoning permits since the tornado. Thirteen have been completed, 15 have started work and seven have not started yet. Sixteen of those 35 are residences,” said Kim Neiman, Pilger.
That progress is something Greensburg Mayor Box Dixson says Pilger should be proud of. Back in 2007, Greensburg was leveled by an EF-5 tornado. Eleven people were killed.
“Celebrate your successes. Build on those successes and those foundations that will make those things work not only tonight but in future planning processes,” said Dixson.
Dixon has traveled to towns that have faced similar storms, offering up advice and help where he can. He says in the seven-plus years since the Greensburg tornado, the Pilger recovery efforts stand out.
“I had watched news reports all through last summer and the fall and seen the disaster. I was anticipating what I might see, and I was really surprised at the progress that’s being made,” he added.
At Wednesday’s recovery meeting, residents got not only an update on where Pilger’s recovery is, but where it could be.
The University of Nebraska’s Architectural Department presented potential layouts to replace the almost 200 buildings lost. Residents also shared ideas on potentially building restaurants and community centers. Dixson says that kind of spirit can be infectious.
“It’s our homes. It’s where we live. It’s where we raise our family and where we shop. It matters not the size. It’s hurt, it’s pain, it’s grieving and it’s healing.”
The National Weather Service rated the tornado that hit Pilger and EF-4. Two people died in the storm, and dozens were injured.