Six months later, work is still underway to clean tornado-struck community

DRESDEN, Tenn. — Members of a local city continue to unite to rebuild their community.

“The last six months, clean up has had some successes, but has also had some challenges as we moved forward,” said Weakley County Mayor Jake Bynum.

After being struck by an EF-3 tornado in December, debris still lingers in the community of Dresden. Bynum says they hope to have debris pick up finished by August.

“We hope and know that FEMA had kind of given us a deadline of the first part of August for all of that to be completed. So we anticipate that all of the debris will be moved to a landfill by that time,” Bynum said.

On top of debris, more homes need to be demolished due to intense structural damage.

“There is approximately 50 homes that need to be completely torn down or have already been torn down,” Bynum said.

And along with homes, many buildings and businesses need to be demolished too. This includes some of the historic buildings that were located in downtown Dresden.

“Across the street from the courthouse here was city, here along with several buildings that had been a part of the court square for many years. All of those buildings have been torn down, but we’re excited to see what that rebuild process looks like,” Bynum said.

Many nonprofits and other organizations are helping those still there at the moment, but another long-term goal Bynum has is to bring those who were not able to stay back into the community.

“I think there will be a real concerted effort over the long-term period, over the next one to two years, about how do we get those citizens back into the community, what do we do for them, how do we best facilitate their recovery,” Bynum said.

If you are still needing help, you can visit the Recovery Center at 8250 on Highway 22.

Their hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday and the phone number is (731) 699-7913.

Or visit rebuildweakley.com if you are wanting to volunteer with the rebuilding process. They welcome you to reach out to the center as well.

“If you want to volunteer, if you want to come into the community and help assist us with demolishing homes, rebuilding homes, repairing, any of those questions can be directed at that website,” Bynum said.

FEMA also is requiring that all of the debris be picked up and placed in an in-use landfill so the county is awarded their full reimbursement from the federal government and from TEMA.
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