Sunday, September 22, 2013

With Slate Clean, a Jersey Shore Town Reimagines Itself

Devastated by Sandy, Sea Bright is now casting an eye towards the future, using the storm as an opportunity to make it more livable, sustainable and resilient. 
“If we spend all this money rebuilding our homes, and there’s no town to back it up, what’s the point?” asked one speaker at a recent borough meeting. A planning process is being led from the ground up, with residents coming up with ideas about restoring the waterfront, re-imagining the downtown and re-making the local economy.  Those ideas will be finalized over the next few weeks, and then the town will apply for grants to help transform the narrow strip of land with water on both sides.

Saturday, September 14, 2013



'Sandy Recovery Studio' works to transform sea walls and other structures into tourist attractions.

seabright studio
Off-season, beach parking lots can be used to host farmers markets and other outdoor activities.
More than six months after Sandy crashed into the New Jersey coastline, some towns that have been struggling to get back on their feet are just beginning to plan for the future. And one of the Garden State’s barrier islands is getting some help with that effort from a group of graduate students at Rutgers’ Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy.
“This is just a really challenging situation, and the entire coastline is going to have to face it,” said Chris Kok, a student in this spring’s “Sandy Recovery Studio.” The class is dedicated entirely to rethinking and rebuilding the central New Jersey town of Sea Bright, which saw widespread structural damage and flooding during and after the October storm.
Sandy was certainly a wake-up call, but Sea Bright has always been vulnerable to extreme weather. “If Sea Bright were not urbanized today, nobody would build on it,” said Carlos Rodrigues, who co-teaches the class with Michael Yaffe.
Sitting on a three-mile-long strip of land due east of Princeton between the Atlantic Ocean and the Shrewsbury and Navesink Rivers, the low-lying town is three blocks across at its widest, so even a heavy rain leaves it prone to flooding. During Sandy, water rushed over the riverbank from the west and through the 10-foot sea wall from the east, inundating the island.
Now, work is being done to flood-proof Sea Bright. Workers have been strengthening the sea wall and the Army Corps of Engineers is building a bulkhead system along the town's riverbank.
And students in the Sandy Recovery Studio are thinking about how to preserve the character and communal spirit of a beach town that’s being walled in by engineers...
Last month, the class presented its findings to Sea Bright residents and officials, who were pleased with the results and followed up with a flurry of questions. Having gotten the effective green light to move forward with the project, several students began working up a final report and Rodrigues started coordinating construction efforts with Mayor Long and FEMA. The Bloustein School will also stay involved with Sea Bright through the end of the year, as the town moves from wondering how to rebuild to deciding what to rebuild first.

Jersey Shore towns have borrowed $398M since Sandy, awaiting federal aid

Aug. 28, 2013

Seven months after President Barack Obama approved $50.5 billion of aid to help rebuild communities devastated by Hurricane Sandy, the New Jersey beach town of Manasquan has received about one-tenth of its cleanup costs.
It’s the same story up and down the 130-mile length of the Jersey Shore, where localities have almost doubled their borrowing, partly to pay for repairs until federal funds arrive.
Since Sandy struck Oct. 29, 42 Shore towns including Manasquan, where the $664,000 median value of owner-occupied housing is almost twice the state average, have sold about $398 million of short-term debt, data compiled by Bloomberg show. For a similar period in 2011-2012, 31 such communities issued $225 million. They’re borrowing as one-year interest rates are close to the highest since 2011.

“We desperately need to be reimbursed,” Donna M. Phelps, an assistant to the borough administrator, wrote in an Aug. 14 letter to the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The next day, Manasquan sold $3.44 million of notes due in 2014...
Seven weeks after Sandy, Moody’s Investors Service gave negative credit outlooks to four beach towns — Belmar, Lavallette, Long Beach Township and Sea Bright — and cut Seaside Heights to A3, its fourth-lowest investment grade. The towns faced the loss of taxes from destroyed property, a reliance on short-term borrowing and uncertain levels of federal aid, a Moody’s report said...
Long Beach Township is the largest town on the 18-mile stretch of Long Beach Island, which swells with summer tourists. Moody’s cited the municipality’s widespread Sandy damage and the loss of taxable property in a December report that assigned a negative outlook to $2.2 million of general-obligation debt rated Aa2, the third-highest step.
On March 19, Long Beach sold $7.6 million of unlimited general-obligation notes maturing in one year at a yield of 0.5 percent, 0.22 percentage point above an index of benchmark munis, data compiled by Bloomberg show. That spread was unchanged from when the township sold $6.6 million of one-year notes in March 2012.
Long Beach, with 3,000 year-round residents and a $23.7 million annual budget, plans to borrow as much as $10 million more. It also intends to bill FEMA $13 million for repairs to parks, sewage pumping stations and other infrastructure...
New Jersey localities are financing storm upgrades as debt sold by the state and its municipalities is losing about 5 percent this year through Aug. 23, matching declines in the broader $3.7 trillion municipal market, Barclays Plc data show.
The municipalities have the advantage of selling into the best-performing segment of local bonds. Amid bets that a growing economy will lead the Federal Reserve to reduce its bond buying, short-term munis have earned 0.4 percent this year, while longer maturities have lost at least 0.7 percent, according to Standard & Poor’s data...
Manasquan, in its Aug. 14 letter to FEMA, said it had received $401,000 of reimbursements. The borough, with an annual budget of $10.2 million, has spent $4.4 million on debris removal, according to DeIorio.
On Aug. 15, Manasquan sold unlimited general-obligation notes at a yield of 0.92 percent, or 0.58 percentage point above an index of benchmark munis, Bloomberg data show. That difference is almost half the 1.14 percentage-point spread when the borough sold one-year notes in January 2010.
Read the full article...


Main Content
FEMA Press Release date: 
AUGUST 27, 2013
Release Number: 

LINCROFT, N.J. -- When Superstorm Sandy subsided after battering the Borough of Sea Bright, the Jersey Shore community responded with the strong determination people associate with Sea Brighters. Their resolve in recovery efforts has resulted in two realizations – one, recovery is a long-term process; and two, the small community of nearly 2,000 residents will never be exactly the same.
Ten months after the storm, the community is actively engaged in creating a vision for a brighter future – a vision that leaders call Sea Bright 2020. On Wednesday, Aug. 21, about 160 residents gathered at Holy Cross Catholic School in nearby Rumson to identify key projects and strategies that will help move them beyond recovery.
It’s part of a proven long-term planning process guided and supported by FEMA’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordination (FDRC) office. The recovery coordination office works with state and federal partners to help streamline access to federal funding, decrease gaps in assistance, and establish recovery goals in terms of outcomes, milestones and budget. The FDRC can also provide an array of skills, Sea Bright community attends Long Term Recovery workshopSea Bright residents attend the Sea Bright 2020 Community Workshop to discuss ideas and concerns regarding key projects that will help restore the coastal town. This workshop is part of a three-month community engagement effort by N.J. Futures, the Edward Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers University and supported by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Rosanna Arias/FEMAsuch as civil engineering, architecture, land-use planning, economic development, environmental science and disabilities integration.

Complete Article...

Sea Bright wants residents' ideas for rebuilding after Sandy

Aug. 16, 2013 Written by
Susanne Cervenka
Asbury Park Press ,

SEA BRIGHT — Sea Bright wants to hear its residents’ ideas for rebuilding from the damage the oceanfront borough suffered during superstorm Sandy.
Sea Bright 2020, a steering committee developing plans that will guide the borough’s rebuilding, is hosting a community meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Holy Cross School in Rumson.
There, community members will be asked to give input on 17 questions dealing with housing, community facilities, downtown redevelopment and economic development, waterfront restoration and communication.
The responses will be used in Sea Bright’s recovery plan. Mayor Dina Long said she wants to see as many residents as possible come so the important decisions about the borough’s future are made by the community, instead of a handful of individuals.

Sea Bright NJ residents, FEMA talk vision of borough's future

Sea Bright residents, FEMA talk vision of borough's future

Written by
Susanne Cervenka
Asbury Park Press, August 23, 2013

Sea Bright residents plan town's futureRUMSON — A post-superstorm Sandy Sea Bright should have a pharmacy and a bakery and the borough should turn a former school into a marketplace with a variety of small businesses and, potentially, artists.

Residents in the beachside borough of Sea Bright also said they want their waterfront strengthened to protect against the next storm, then it should be opened up with a riverwalk or other amenities so they can enjoy it.

The concepts were among the hundreds of ideas from Sea Brighters at a community brainstorming session Wednesday night at Holy Cross School gymnasium in Rumson. Watch the video above to see some of the session.

Sea Bright 2020, the steering committee that is helping develop the borough’s long-term recovery plan, invited residents share their visions for their hometown. Those ideas will be incorporated into those planning documents that will become the basis by which the borough rebuilds.  Those plans will be presented at another large community meeting Oct. 9.

VIDEO - Planning a Towns Future

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

NY Community-Based Task Force Offers Advice On Hurricane Recovery

04/01/2013 09:14 PM
By: NY1 News

The Sandy Regional Assembly is made up of organizations from across the city, including environmental groups, community associations, and labor unions. Lower Manhattan

Recommendations include increasing community oversight, paying more attention to vulnerable populations and training volunteers in disaster assistance.

Community leaders say they want to have a voice in planning for the future.

"Our communities are people of color, the elders, people with disabilities, people who would be the most at risk if, god forbid, there was another problem that was similar to Sandy," said Elizabeth Yeampierre, the executive director of UPROSE Of Sunset Park.

"We realized that it was incumbent on us, especially since these community groups have long histories of advocacy and planning and pushing for more sustainable practices in their neighborhoods and citywide and regionally," said Eddie Bautista, the director of the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance. "We had ideas and proposals that needed to be part of whatever recovery, rebuilding agenda."
The report will be shared with city and state governments, as well as a federal task force.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Part-time recovery position created to address flooding


A recent proactive effort with the creation of a part-time recovery plan coordinator position plans to reduce the impact of future flooding in Schuylkill County.

William E. Reichert, president of Schuylkill Headwaters Association, recently accepted the new part-time position of manager of the Pine Grove Area/Upper Swatara Long-Term Recovery Strategy.

State Rep. Mike Tobash, R-125, helped coordinate the efforts of the Schuylkill Economic Development Corp., Schuylkill County Industrial Development Authority, Schuylkill County commissioners and the Schuylkill Conservation District, which created the position now responsible for managing projects that affect the entire Pine Grove/Upper Swatara watershed area.

The effort was based on an idea from a Federal Emergency Management Agency report.

"Basically, I'm taking the work that had been done by the folks when FEMA was here for Tropical Storm Lee to try to ensure that all of that effort and time and energy continues to move forward," Reichert said Tuesday. "You can spend a lot of time and effort to make a plan then put it on a bookshelf and nothing happens."

West Pittston Tomorrow - new website for recovery

NON PROFIT ARTICLES OF INCORPORATION NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that Articles of Incorporation for West Pittston Tomorrow, a Pennsylvania Nonprofit Corporation, have been filed and approved by the Department of State of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania on November 13, 2012, pursuant to the revisions of the Nonprofit Corporation Law of 1988, as amended supplemented. The purpose for which it is organized is to provide a non-partisan, non-sectarian and non-commercial organization to initiate, encourage, assist, and sponsor activities within the Borough of West Pittston for the benefit, betterment, advancement, and general civic improvement of the community.
The first meeting of the corporation will be held on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 7 p.m. at the West Pittston Borough Building for the purpose of adopting by-laws and election of officers and board of directors. Details can be found at

West Pittston receives $120K flood recovery grant

WEST PITTSTON - Luzerne County has awarded the borough a grant for $120,000 for flood recovery repair in low income areas.

Council cannot make official plans yet until the county actually disburses the money, but they plan to use the money toward paving and curb repairs on Fremont Street, Jenkins Street and part of Luzerne Avenue.

The borough is still waiting on Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to be distributed by the county. While the county received the money, they are still searching for a projects coordinator to oversee distribution and use of that money.

Borough Engineer Tom Reilly selected areas in need, where streets were under water and flood damage was significant.

Jim Brozena, former executive director of the Flood Protection Authority, has applied and submitted a proposal to handle the buying of flood-damaged properties and demolition of structures on these properties.

After retiring from his former position, Brozena started his own business and has been reaching out to municipalities to handle the buyout process.

The borough is looking to work with him; however, council will vote on whether to accept Brozena's proposal and hire him at Tuesday's council meeting. If the borough hires Brozena, he will be paid with federal money.

No parking on Exeter, Wyoming avenues

Currently, the state mandates no parking on Exeter and Wyoming Avenue; however, the borough needs to purchase and place no parking signs before notifying the public. The borough will not enforce the state mandate until the signs are in place.

The West Pittston Street Department is responsible for completing this project.

Library grant: All or nothing

The Pennsylvania Department of Education awarded the borough and West Pittston Library a $500,000 Keystone Recreation, Parks and Conservation fund grant for development over an 18-month period as it recovers from the flood damage sustained in September 2011.

The grant is contingent upon the library matching the awarded amount. If the library is unable to match the amount, the grant is declined. Library officials are confident they can raise the money needed.

Wilmington committee seeks mission statement approval

Wednesday February 13, 2013

WILMINGTON -- The Long Term Community Recovery Steering Committee met on Monday, Feb. 11 to discuss its mission statement, which it hopes to get approved by the Selectboard on Feb. 20.

The mission statement reads, "The Long Term Community Recovery Steering Committee will be the support and entry point for recovery project volunteers to access town approval. Acting as a central clearing house, the LTCRS Committee will communicate the progress of existing and future recovery projects and regularly post reports. The LTCRS Committee will provide clear and functional ideas to assist our Selectboard in the coordination of a cohesive recovery plan. The LTCRS Committee will also guide our current volunteer efforts to deliver a solid starting point for professional planners."

"It should be a slam dunk at this point," said Town Manager Scott Murphy.
The committee was formed around November. It has been a topic at Selectboard meetings as to just what the committee will be responsible for.

After Tropical Storm Irene, when FEMA came to assist with projects, it had come to the attention of the Selectboard that, "there was no group guiding them ... asking about (project) statuses," said Murphy.

On Monday, Mary Wright was named chairwoman of the committee, which approved the selection by unanimous vote.
"If there's a drive for these committees to become official, let's become official," said Wright.

The LTCRS committee will meet on the second Monday in March with reports from different groups in town. The information will be about projects that groups currently are working on. It will focus on projects' progress, hold-ups, frustrations and goals for the near future, members agreed.
"Once we get a charge, we should make a list of goals," said Wright. "There's still a lot of loose ends all over the place."
One thing the LTCRS committee agreed upon was the need to clarify some things about the downtown designation, Wilmington Works. Residents have been confused about this, too.
"As they get going, (the downtown designation group) will take a lot of the efforts and it will be under their wing," said Murphy. "That process is starting now, but is taking a long time."
Once Wilmington Works' application is accepted by the Vermont Downtown Program group, the LTCRS committee may not need to be as concerned with projects in the downtown designation, which will focus on the area known as the Historic Review District Village.
The area's coverage will go from School Street to the Old Red Mill Inn and includes restaurant and bar, Apres Vous, as well as the Pettee Memorial Library.
The downtown designation group to be formed will range from nine to 11 members. It will be a board of advisors and will include at least two people designated by the Wilmington Selectboard, two from the Wilmington Fund, one from the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce, two business owners and two property owners. There will also be a program director.
The downtown designation group may take over various projects from different committees that have been formed.
"It's entirely possible these committees will morph into a Wilmington Works sub-group," said Murphy.
Members of the LTCRS committee discussed how frequently it should meet in the future.
"I think we only need to meet every month," said Murphy. "Unless something comes up."
Most of the committee thought that 5 p.m. on Mondays would work best for all involved, when it comes to scheduled, warned meetings.
By meeting on the second Monday of every month, the committee would get the chance to hear the Selectboard on the first Wednesday of the month and discuss goals with the board. Then it could get back to the board on the third Wednesday of the month, when the Selectboard meets again.
Wright has experience with working on the Wilmington Beautification Committee, of which she is still a member.
On Monday night, Wright mentioned her concern over informing the public on the roles each committee and board are responsible for.
"Somehow, being able to disseminate information to the general public, some kind of organization dissemination, ‘This is who's working on this. This is who's working on that.' I think that's the type of things people are looking for in this town," she said.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.

Leahy and Shumlin-announce-1-million-for-affordable-housing-project-renovation-of-waterbury-state-office-complex-building

WATERBURY – U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy and Gov. Peter Shumlin today announced a $950,000 award from the Agency of Commerce and Community Development to redevelop Ladd Hall in Waterbury into 27 new homes. The project is made possible by a recent agreement by the state to transfer ownership of the building and include affordable housing in the redevelopment of the State Office Complex. Joining them was Regional Administrator Barbara Fields from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The funding comes from the $21.6 million in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Disaster Recovery funds ACCD received from HUD to help the state recover from Tropical Storm Irene. The money is awarded to the Central Vermont Community Land Trust and Housing Vermont to spearhead the project. - See more at:


Reflections on a great recovery - Waterbury VT

It was a great pleasure and honor, to participate in ReBuild Waterbury’s closure ceremony recently, marking the completion of this community’s commitment to helping Irene survivors return to safe, permanent housing. What the Waterbury/Duxbury community has accomplished is amazing. In the immediate response to the destruction of Tropical Storm Irene, thousands of volunteers were put to work feeding, sheltering, clothing and lifting the spirits of those affected. And as dark and painful as those memories of late August were to many, so too was the bright light of hope and healing that shone through the helping hands that provided so much to those impacted in our community.

Feds to offer buyouts on 646 N.Y. homes hit by Irene, Lee

Feb 6, 2013 | Written by Joseph Spector, Albany Bureau Chief

ALBANY — The federal government has given approval for 646 homes to be bought out after tropical storms Irene and Lee, and more money could be going to help recovering upstate areas.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo is proposing that $400 million in federal aid should be designated to buy out residents whose homes were flattened after Superstorm Sandy on Oct. 29 hit New York City and its suburbs.

A part of the money will also go to recovery efforts for the Southern Tier and the Hudson Valley, which were hit by Irene and Lee a year earlier, Cuomo’s office said.

The specifics of Cuomo’s program have not yet been released. The state Office of Emergency Management said 646 applications have been sent to the Federal Emergency Management Agency for buyouts and approved after Lee and Irene, which hit in August and September 2011, totaling $55 million.


Sunday, February 24, 2013

Hackleburg School on Way to Recovery

HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WHNT) – Feb 22, 2013
As the two-year anniversary approaches of the deadly tornado outbreak of April 2011, life is still not back to normal for some towns.
Dozens of singlewide trailers all in a row, now make up Hackleburg High School.
“It`s a nice facility but it’s nothing you really want to stay in for a long period of time,” said Hackleburg Police Chief, Kenny Hallmark.
It’s a stark contrast from the school that once sat just across the street.
The tornado that ripped through the area on April 27th, 2011, demolished that building.
“At first I didn`t think it would bother them that much, I figured it would affect the community, or the people who had been in school more than it did the kids, but now it`s starting to affect the kids,” said Hallmark.
While the school`s under construction, there`s still no where for student athletes to play their games. Students must travel for every event, which some people say is also taking a toll on the school community.
“That`s something this town is built on is the pride of their school and athletic teams and its beginning to weigh on them,” said Hallmark.
Finally, heavy equipment sets, ready to run. When the weather cooperates, dirt is getting moved for the town’s new school complex.
“It’s kinda picked the spirits up , once the building starts going up, I think that will help the spirits also for the people in town, but its been a long time coming,” said Hallmark.
While the wet ground has delayed progress crews expect to have the school built from ground up in the next year and a half.
Bids for the sports complex went out Friday. All other construction bids have been approved.


Senator Sessions Tours Rebult Hackleburg Wrangler Plant

Feb 20th 2013' HACKLEBURG, AL (WBRC) -
Another business is on the road to recovery in the Marion County town of Hackleburg.

Wednesday, Senator Jeff Sessions toured the VF Jeanswear Wrangler distribution center, which was wiped out in the April 27 tornadoes. The plant sits on a hill, and on April 27, 2011 it became a field of twisted metal and jeans in only a matter of seconds.

Before the tornado, the Wrangler plant was by far the town's biggest employer with 150 employees. Without it, Hackleburg faced a bleak future.

The state contributed $31 million to bring the plant back, and Hackleburg added $200,000 to that amount. When the new plant reopens in May, it will employ 200 people.

"They made a commitment to come here. They were assisted by all the local governments, and it was really important to me. I really felt and I know a lot of us felt that it was important that this plant come back here, psychologically and economically," Sen. Sessions said.

A total of 18 people were killed in the Hackleburg tornado, including one person who died inside the plant.

Copyright 2013 WBRC. All rights reserved.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Community, Returning to Life, Asks, ‘Where Is Everybody?’

The New York Times

Published: February 19, 2013

There weren’t enough people in Red Hook, residents said to one another in worried tones. The Brooklyn neighborhood felt lonely. Dwellers in the garden apartments along Pioneer Street, which took on about eight feet of water during Hurricane Sandy, were long gone. Dog walkers’ clients had moved, taking their canine charges with them. At least one restaurant was having trouble finding enough workers to reopen. Demand from would-be home buyers had ebbed.


Long Beach Gathers Opinions from Residents, Visitors on BoardwalkRebuilding

The city of Long Beach, Long Island is collecting opinions from residents and visitors, as it moves forward with plans to rebuild its boardwalk. Officials say they’re hoping to replace at least part of the more than two-mile boardwalk, which was heavily damaged by Sandy, in time for the summer season.


Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Year End Editorial From Minot ND Mayor on Recovery Progress for full article.


From Mayor Curt Zimbleman: While it seems like an overused phrase, 2012 was truly one for the record books while also being a year of great change in Minot. With the ongoing flood recovery efforts and the energy impact due to the oil boom, our region has been through a lot in 2012.

Before I get too far, I want to thank all the many volunteers, businesses, friends, neighbors and even complete strangers who have helped the Magic City continue recovering from the 2011 Mouse River flood. You have proved to be a resilient, caring, resourceful, compassionate people willing to help when times are tough. As well, a pat on the back to all those who are working to manage the growth and change coming at us from every direction.

Flood Recovery

As I look back on 2012 I see a lot of key points to highlight when it comes to flood recovery. All intersection signals and street lights were repaired, the dead loops and main portions of the Mouse River were cleaned of garbage and flood debris was hauled away from homes - more than 56,500 tons! According to the City Assessor's Office, 80 percent of the homes with main-floor flood damage are now habitable; and a report released this summer showed 97 percent of businesses affected by the flood remain open one year later. In many ways our community made great strides in 2012.

See full article for the full update

Hackleburg and NW AL Receive Long Term Recovery Funds

Hackleburg to get $4.8M for recovery
By Bernie Delinski
The Decatur Daily, 12/20/12

HACKLEBURG — Amid all the speeches made Wednesday in announcing more than $15.75 million in tornado disaster relief funds — including $8.1 million for northwest Alabama — a single statement from an audience member seemed to speak loudest.


Saturday, January 5, 2013

Joplin and their Citizen Advisory Recovery Team Make Time's ComebackList of 2012

Time Top 10 2012 Comebacks
4. Joplin, Missouri

By Erin SkardaDec. 04, 20120

Zach Abrams plays basketball outside of the FEMA trailer where his family lives after their home was destroyed by a tornado that ripped through Joplin, Mo., one year ago, May 22, 2012.

On May 22, 2011, a high-powered EF-5 tornado swept through the Midwestern city of Joplin, leaving a trail of death and destruction in its path. It was the single deadliest tornado to hit the U.S. in nearly 60 years, killing 161 people and injuring 1,000. Approximately 7,500 homes and hundreds of businesses were destroyed. But one year later, things were already looking up for Joplin. Just weeks after the tornado, the community came together for a public meeting, where a plan to rebuild the city was launched on a series of sticky notes. Led by local business owner Jane Cage, the group started the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team to work with the local government and act as a voice for residents. In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a $45 million investment in the city, which will go a long way toward bringing the sticky-note plan to life. And for the high school students of Joplin, who returned to class three months after the tornado in a makeshift space in the local mall, a special guest visited the city in May to deliver their commencement address: President Obama. “My deepest hope for all of you is that as you begin this new chapter in your life, you will bring that spirit of Joplin to every place you travel and everything you do,” he said

Read more:

From the Joplin Globe:

Our View: Making the strong finish 12/10/2012 3:00 PM
It all began with a series of sticky notes.

That’s right. That was the genesis for the rebuilding of Joplin.
And the words on those notes were yours.
Some of you wanted Joplin to come back after the 2011 tornado with sidewalks and neighborhood parks and lots and lots of trees. You wanted safe rooms and efficient housing. You wanted bike and walking trails.
Others said Joplin needed a new library, a performing arts center, a convention center, even a minor league ball field.
Yes, some dream practical dreams and others dream big.
Those yellow sticky notes have caught the attention of a lot of people outside of Joplin. Most recently, they were mentioned by Time magazine, which has listed Joplin as No. 4 on its Top 10 Comebacks of 2012.
Here’s what it had to say:
“Led by local business owner Jane Cage, the group started the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team to work with the local government and act as a voice for residents. In January, the Department of Housing and Urban Development announced a $45 million investment in the city, which will go a long way toward bringing the sticky-note plan to life.”
Passage of the much-negotiated tax increment financing proposal will also fund the dreams listed on sticky notes. Residents should hear more about the outcome of that proposal this week.
We want the best for all of Joplin. We continue to put our support behind the TIF proposal as long as the Joplin School District does not lose the impact of the $62 million bond issue voters endorsed in April. That too was a comeback moment in Joplin’s post-tornado history.
But, as you all know, we really haven’t made a comeback until we finish the long, hard job ahead of us.
There’s a reason accolades are being heaped on our town. Joplin figured out how to help itself.
We applaud the ingenuity and the creativity.
Now, let’s finish the job.

Feds Fund Recovery Managers in Vermont

SOUTHERN VERMONT- The Economic Development Administration has awarded $472,000 in disaster recovery funds to a coalition of southern Vermont regional partners.

The grant funds will be managed by the Windham and Bennington regional commissions, but other players in the project include Brattleboro Development Credit Corporation (BDCC), chambers of commerce, the Vermont Agency of Commerce and Community Development, Brattleboro and Bennington downtown organizations, and municipalities.

The grant will fund three positions dedicated to recovery and economic development, including two recovery officers. One recovery officer will be based in Wilmington, according to BDCC Economic Development Project Director Laura Sibilia. A second recovery officer will be based in Brattleboro. Sibilia says the recovery officer based in Wilmington will generally be responsible for Wilmington and Bennington counties, while the Brattleboro-based recovery officer will cover the rest of Windham County.

The third position funded under the grant is a regional marketing coordinator. The regional marketing coordinator will also be located in Wilmington, with office space at the Mount Snow Valley Chamber of Commerce.

Read more: Deerfield Valley News - Feds fund recovery project ....

Owego, NY, Tropical Storm Lee: A year later, the recovery continues5:59 PM, Jan 1, 2013

Longer-term, both county and municipal governments are looking at ways to prevent future flooding. The Village of Owego is in the process of developing a long-term community recovery plan, said Mayor Kevin Millar. It’s also working on an early-warning system, and encouraging residents to sign up for NYAlert.

Drive through the streets of Owego, Vestal or Conklin, and the scars from Tropical Storm Lee aren’t as evident as they once were — but they are there.

The Vestal Park Rehabilitation & Nursing Center stands empty on Vestal Road as does the former home of BAE Systems in Westover, which has since moved to the Huron complex in Endicott. For-sale signs dot the lawns of homes and businesses that can no longer afford to rebuild.

It’s been more than a year since the slow-moving storm sluiced nearly 9 inches of rain onto an already-damp Tier on Sept. 7 and 8, 2011. More than 30,000 Broome and Tioga residents evacuated, the largest such evacuation the region has seen. Property damage totaled more than $182 million in Broome and $84 million in Tioga, taking into account federal disaster aid, insurance claims, federal loans and buyout applications..


Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lessons in Community Recovery - New FEMA Report

A new FEMA Report describing principles and lessons of community recovery based on the 7 years of ESF #14 Long Term Community Recovery field work.

Businesses return to 15th Street and McFarland, Tuscaloosa

Published: Sunday, January 29, 2012 
TUSCALOOSA | In the 10 months since the April 27 tornado, destroyed businesses in Tuscaloosa have been slowly rebuilding. Some have returned to a sense of normalcy, while others have yet to begin.
During that time, business owners and city officials have come into conflict while navigating the line between the city’s vision for its future and businesses’ rebuilding needs.
While there have been disagreements between the two over the city’s plans, several business owners in the areas affected by the tornado say they are starting to work better with the city on finding a balance between compliance with new, more restrictive city regulations and returning to business as usual.
Tommy Metrock’s Boulevard Salon on McFarland Boulevard was one of the smallest businesses destroyed and is one of the smallest to return.

Design Alabama: Forward Tuscaloosa - Disaster Recovery Article

To read the Design Alabama artcile in its entirity, please click here.

DA Journal 2011 | Volume XXI | “Forward Tuscaloosa” by Jessica Armstrong
One of the worst tornado outbreaks ever to hit the United States occurred over a four-day period April 2011, causing catastrophic destruction, particularly in Alabama.  An EF-4 twister described as “very large and exceptionally destructive” struck Tuscaloosa April 27.  To devise a means of recovery, Mayor Walter Maddox formed the Rebuild Tuscaloosa Task Force, which put together the Tuscaloosa Forward Strategic Plan – a long-term vision born out of a public/private partnership and extensive citizen feedback.  Main concerns addressed by the plan are housing, improving infrastructure and economic development.  Tuscaloosa now has the opportunity to create updated land use that reflects the city’s urban core and replaces outdates codes and zoning, Maddox adds.

Podcast and Slideshow — Rebuilding Greensburg: Four Years of Progress

Greensburg, Kansas, Mayor Bob Dixson, and Stephen Hardy, senior planner with BNIM Architects in Kansas City, who prepared Greensburg’s Sustainable Comprehensive Plan following the May 2007 tornado that devastated the community, talk with Jim Schwab about the city’s four-year-old efforts to rebuild the community on green principles.

Click on the player below to listen:

Avoiding the Fate of Napoleon (Arkansas): Designing Successful Recovery Efforts

Todd Jaspers Blog:   I spent yesterday in Harrisburg, PA at the Region III National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) Stakeholder Engagement Workshop. While it was great to see so many emergency management professionals dedicated to recovery, it was also quite clear that these types of discussions about recovery are just the beginning of crucial recovery planning at every level. Collectively, we’ve spent enormous resources on response and now, with the NDRF, our focus is being re-adjusted to better understanding–and planning–recovery.

Teamwork saved Wrangler plant in Hackleburg, officials say

Published: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 12:45 PM     Updated: Tuesday, January 24, 2012, 12:57 PM