Sioux Falls still cleaning up after tornadoes devastate community three months prior

Published: Dec. 17, 2019 at 6:44 PM CST
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It's been 90 days since three tornadoes touched down in Sioux Falls, damaging homes, businesses, and flattening countless trees.

Much of the city has been cleaned up and many folks have moved on, but there is still work to be done, and several businesses are still rebuilding.

In an interview with KSFY News, Sioux Falls Mayor Paul TenHaken recalled his thoughts as the tornadoes rolled in the night of Sep. 10.

"I was very nervous the first couple hours that we heard these tornadoes were coming, and after they came. Were there going to be injuries? Were there going to be deaths? What sort of cleanup were we going to be facing?" TenHaken said.

Now, three months later, the city is well on its way to recovering, and the mayor couldn't be more proud of how the community came together in a time of need.

"We had almost 3,000 calls to the 211 Helpline Center," TenHaken said. "Either people who wanted help or people that wanted to provide help, so that's really encouraging to me to see how the community responded."

But even with all the progress that's been made, there is still work to be done.

"We still have a root ball work to do, and sidewalk repair, curb and gutter repair, stump removal to do, but overall it's mostly cosmetic," TenHaken said.

For some businesses hit hard though, there is still uncertainty. TenHaken says, while the city has done what they can to help, it's disappointing to see them in this position.

"While they may have insurance to cover their down time, you have to get those customers back into the grove of visiting their establishment, so that's something were going to stay cognitive of and see if we can't help with when they reopen," TenHaken said.

Broker Linda Dunham, with Solutions Property Management, manages the Plaza 41 property, she says the reconstruction process has gone smoothly.

Dunham says the building has been completely gutted, and crews are still working to replace the roof.

She added, some of the businesses in Plaza 41 will be reopening this spring, and the rest should be open by the summer of 2020.