Monday, July 16, 2007

Progress and Frustrations

In the aftermath of a catastrophe like the EF5 Tornado that obliterated Greensburg, KS there is a great deal of aid that comes into the town from private and public sources. I was amazed by the progress that was able to be made within only two months for beginning the clean-up of the town and in constructing a temporary housing area for those displaced by the storm.

The day that we were there the first 28 residents had moved into a 350 unit temporary subdivision on the outskirts of town, complete with its own concrete storm cellar. The FEMA development was well landscaped and built with sidewalks. Benjamin Alexander of FEMA told me, “It is the nicest one that we have ever done so far.”

Think about the logistics required of laying out a subdivision, putting in all of the infrastructure, moving in housing and doing all of that while trying to move yourself into temporary quarters and dealing with typical government bureaucracy. I’m guessing that could only happen in the USA.

Several of the residents expressed concern about the pace of rebuilding, wanting to get started with putting their lives back together. I cautioned them on rushing too quickly and losing sight of the fact that they have an opportunity to rebuild the town with a vision and wisdom to last for generations into the future. Most towns don’t get an opportunity like this, to rebuild exactly as they want themselves to be.

It is a tough and delicate balance going on in Greensburg. I hope that they are able to balance short term desires with a long term vision of the future.

No comments: