Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Hope, hard work and being a tight-knit community have helped north Minneapolis rebuild, one year after a devastating tornado.
Families, friends and neighbors gathered for a barbecue Tuesday to talk about what happened, and the challenges still ahead.
Earlier today, students at Lucy Craft Laney school released balloons to mark the anniversary and the mayor and city leaders planted a tree in memory of Rob MacIntyre. MacIntyre died helping neighbors clean up after the storm.
The city said a quarter of homes and businesses in north Minneapolis were so badly damaged that they had to be torn down.
Others, like Belinda and Frank Lynn, are still making repairs.
“The tree was leaning on the house,” Belinda said, looking at a picture from one year ago.
“The whole side of the house had crashed in,” Frank said.
The images from that day, much like the clean-up, aren’t going away.
“Every time it starts raining, I go down to the basement,” Belinda said.
Thirteen blocks away, others are discussing what they remember from May 22, 2011.
“Everybody still has repairs going on,” homeowner Ron McConico said.
Tonight, McConico is holding a barbecue where neighbors gathered to eat, talk and remember.
Many had their meals off these same grills a year ago, when McConico stepped up to help those without working kitchens.
“I think one of the things this thing did more than anything, was it showed people that although they didn’t have a lot, they had a neighborhood and they had each other,” Joshua Wickander said.
But at least four families, whose homes ended up destroyed, are rebuilding from the ground up.
Others we talked to, with less significant repairs, said they couldn’t imagine leaving because of the sense of community in this neighborhood.
If you’re still looking for help with repairs, a local non-profit is taking applications. Just head to rebuildingtogether-twincities.org.