Dedicated businesses rebuild in Tuscaloosa: McDonald’s on 15th Street
By Kerie Kerstetter
April 26, 2012 — More than 350 commercial structures were either destroyed or damaged during the April 27 tornado last year. Now as Tuscaloosa’s residents continue to rebuild their city from the rubble, so too are Tuscaloosa’s businesses.
The McDonald’s on 15th Street was in the direct path of the tornado last spring. According to owner and operator Ken Baird, 18 people were inside the McDonald’s when the storm hit. They took shelter in the restaurant’s bathrooms, located in the center of the building.
Tuscaloosa County PARA plans groundbreaking for park destroyed in tornado (al.com)
April 17, 2011 — The Tuscaloosa County Park and Recreation Authority will host a groundbreaking ceremony next week at Harmon and Rosedale parks, a site planned as an anchor of the proposed CityWalk recreational trail.
PARA will hold the event at 29th Street and 11th Avenue at 10 a.m. on April 23 to mark the beginning of rebuilding the park, which was destroyed in the April 27, 2011, tornado.
“The program is a commemorative event marking the first anniversary of the April 27 tornado and embracing the spirit in which our community is coming together to rebuild,” PARA executive director Gary Minor said in a news release.
As one year anniversary nears, citizens’ stories reflect great strides in recovery
By Kerie Kerstetter
Tuscaloosa resident Felicia Bannister calls herself a news-watcher. Rain or shine, she said she always keeps a keen eye on the weather. So when the forecast on April 27, 2011, called for tornado warnings, Felicia and her family were prepared for the severe weather. What they weren’t prepared for was how that day would impact their lives and their community.
When the EF-4 tornado ripped through Tuscaloosa that evening, Felicia was at her home in Alberta City with her family.
“We had turned on the news in time to see the weather worsening,” she recalled. “The last image we saw was the tornado over the football stadium. Then everything went black.”
The Road to Recovery: Stories from Tuscaloosa & Joplin
Juli Anne Patty of Trade and Industry Development looks at the road that two of the hardest hit communities have taken in their trek towards recovery: ”The New Year is an auspicious time for everyone, our resolutions giving shape and intention to how we will make 2012 an even better year than the one it follows. But in some communities, this New Year is different than any they ever faced. Three seasons have passed since the communities of Tuscaloosa and Joplin were struck by devastating tornadoes, and this winter, they will begin a new year with potential, promise and the well-tested certainty that whatever challenges they face, they will come together and succeed.”