One year later: South Bend continues recovery from tornado
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A year ago Tuesday, the south side of South Bend was struck by an EF-2 tornado. The twister damaged homes, knocked down trees, and destroyed the Growing Kids Learning Center off Ireland Road. Recovery and reconstruction efforts have been underway ever since. Workers at the Growing Kids Learning Center said the work they are doing there is considered "total reconstruction" from the foundation up. Neighbors said this recovery effort brought out the best in the community.
"We had someone come in, the Southern Baptist, and we happened to know him, didn't know he was involved in that," said Shirley Wurtsbaugh who lost power and water in her house from the e tornado for days. "They go around and help people. People just dropped off ice and water, sandwiches so you can feed the workers, and it was so hot this time last year. Oh my goodness, but it worked out beautifully."
The image of the tornado left a lasting impression on people in the area.
"When I opened the door, I saw this dark, dark wind just going so fast, and my husband was coming down the stairs at the same time." Shari Herman said who was at home when the tornado struck the neighborhood. "That was when it hit. You could hear things hitting the house. It felt like the house was going to come up, and then it just quit."
Few places were hit as hard as Growing Kids Learning Center, which was hit directly by the tornado. Center officials were not available for comment, but according to a Facebook post, they plan to open the center again on July 27th and have already opened the registration process.
The workers on site said the project is a "total reconstruction from the foundation up." So far, the building has new classrooms, functioning locks on the doors and painted walls. The playground outside is nearing completion. Construction crews said they plan to be finished by early July.