Mercer County Tornadoes: Clean-Up Progresses, Economy Effected - Hometownstations.com-WLIO- Lima, OH News Weather Sports

Mercer County Tornadoes: Clean-Up Progresses, Economy Effected

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The main infrastructure damage was to the electrical grid which left folks without power for a few days after the storm. The main infrastructure damage was to the electrical grid which left folks without power for a few days after the storm.

When will buildings be rebuilt? When will businesses re-open? When will life go back to normal? All questions the City of Celina and nearby neighborhoods are asking, one month after a couple of tornadoes ripped through their town. But with every disaster, learning can be done.

"I learned that people are heeding the warnings," said director of Mercer County for the Emergency Management System, Mike Robbins. "As bad as that devastation was out there, we had no life-threatening injuries."

Although Dunham's Sports is still closed, some smaller retailers in that same plaza have opened back up. The main infrastructure damage was to the electrical grid which left folks without power for a few days after the storm. 

Robbins expects that this natural disaster will take a toll on the local economy and said the city is working with the state to possibly open up a state disaster relief program to reimburse some of the reconstruction costs.

"And we won’t see that until after the first of the year to know how big a hit that took," Robbins said. Some of the big retailers did get open back up fairly soon. There’s still some decent, medium to small retailers that are still closed. In a community this size it does make a difference."  

Another side of the economy often forgotten is the agricultural side which took a blow after the tornadoes rolled through. 

We probably discovered about 20-25 farm steads that suffered some kind of damage," said Michelle Stahl, Executive Director of Van Wert county for the Farm Service Agency. "We had several large operations that were significantly devastated by the tornado."

Information about livestock loss is still being compiled. Stahl did say two dairy farms were successfully evacuated with the help of some neighbors of those farms. Animals that did survive are being cared for at neighboring facilities.

Farmers are now beginning the reconstruction process. Some have found contractors and gotten their insurance squared away. Some farmers aren’t sure what to do moving forward.

"Some are even thinking with the agricultural economy, ‘Do I really want to go to that extent after not being profitable the last couple of years? That’s a lot of overhead.'"

Luckily for farmers there are also some state and federal programs to financially help their damage costs.

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