NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been six months since 16 tornadoes touched down in Middle Tennessee in the fifth largest tornado outbreak in Middle Tennessee history. The tornado outbreak also impacted Southern Kentucky, where a deadly EF-3 tornado hit Bowling Green.
Kingston Springs was one Middle Tennessee community that suffered damage during December’s tornado outbreak. Half a year ago Lesley Mortimer-Wallace was organizing volunteers after an EF-2 tornado hit just a couple of miles down the road from her business The Land.
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Mortimer-Wallace says that many residents are still picking up the pieces, “There are still tarps that are still you know, tarps on roofs. There are still lots of tree trees down.”
The Land has continued to help with the cleanup and even assisted in planting saplings to replace many of the mature trees that were knocked down by the high winds. “So many people lost so many trees, and that’s really the landscape of our neck of the woods,” says Mortimer-Wallace.
Mortimer-Wallace continues to work with local groups to help those dealing with the damage including The Ark. The Ark is still accepting donations for those who want to help residents and businesses in Cheatham County that were impacted by the tornado and high winds.
Six months later, there’s still a lot of work to do in Bowling Green, Kentucky as well. Kentucky State Representative Patti Minter represents Bowling Green and says that while there’s been a lot of rebuilding, they still have a ways to go.
“I see empty spaces where homes and businesses used to be. So we are in recovery mode. We are in the process. And it’s a reminder that it’s been a long, six months. And there is a lot of road ahead of us,” said Representative Minter.
Minter says it has been a struggle to find affordable housing for those who lost their homes in the tornado and small businesses are having trouble getting back on their feet. “We do have a lot of businesses that remain closed, particularly local mom and pop businesses that are that have remained closed because they’ve not been able to build back.”
Minter was a cosponsor of House Bill 5 which provided immediate relief to tornado victims, and she plans to do more when the Kentucky General Assembly meets again in January, “There does need to be more, we need money for small businesses to get back on their feet, we need help to create more affordable housing, we need to make sure that we do have enough housing stock for the demand that’s here, and that the rents aren’t going through the roof, which is one of the things that you see frequently in disaster affected areas.”