Greensburg still moving forward 9 years after tornado

Greensburg, Kan. nine years after the tornado that leveled the town. (Photo: KSN/Shardaa Gray)

GREENSBURG, Kan. (KSN) – It was nine years ago Wednesday that a massive tornado tore through the town of Greensburg, Kansas leaving behind destroyed and damaged buildings along with the question whether the small town would ever recover.

Now, those in the community say they’re continuing to grow, and that the empty store fronts in Greensburg don’t tell the whole story of how the community is continuing to move forward.

“We have a lot of really enthusiastic young people getting involved in the community and community activities. I think more so than it was before,” said Cindy Pyatt who works in Greensburg.

It’s that vibrant, young community that has Cindy excited about the town’s future.

In the 16 years she’s worked in Greensburg, she’s seen a lot of changes and has seen several newer businesses close their doors.  But, she says it’s the younger generation that’s moving Greensburg forward.

“A lot of our older people moved away, and it seems that we’re a younger community now,” Pyatt said. “Younger people coming to take jobs. Part of it has to do with the school system.”

Kiowa County’s school superintendent Darin Headrick says there’s been a focused effort to bring a younger generation to town.

“We’ve tried to re-employee young graduates that maybe teachers won’t re-employee them back into the school,” said Headrick. “Music teacher, math teacher, lots of different young people in the school.”

Headrick says that the Twilight Theater and the arts center help provide a community they want to live in.  City leaders hope that’s a winning formula to help Greensburg grow.

“There’s still projects that are on-going here,” said Stacy Barnes, Greensburg’s convention and tourism director. “We never want to be done. We don’t see ourselves as ever being done. We want to keep evolving and changing and growing our community.”

It’s a long-term process to build Greensburg.  The population is still roughly half of what it was before the tornado hit nine years ago.

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