5 Years Later: Mayor Walt Maddox Recounts the Tuscaloosa Tornado [VIDEO]
As we approach the fifth anniversary of April 27, 2011, we look back at that day and towards our future with our special video series, "Five Years Later."
April 27, 2011.
In less than six minutes, Tuscaloosa changed forever. 12% of the city was destroyed. Over 7,000 people became unemployed after losing their businesses or jobs. 1,257 homes were destroyed and over 4,000 others were damaged.
52 lives were lost.
Recovery in Tuscaloosa began as soon as the tornado had passed; neighbors helped each other in their time of need, and volunteers from across the state, the nation, and the world came to help rebuild T-Town.
Our recovery has been nothing short of remarkable, and the progress and revitalization we've seen in Tuscaloosa would not be possible without the vision of our Mayor, Walt Maddox.
I took the time to speak with Mayor Maddox for our "Five Years Later" video series, and he shared his memories of April 27, 2011 with me in the video above. Mayor Maddox talks about his experience on that day and the days that immediately followed, sharing his thoughts on the city's recovery.
Mayor Maddox had to make difficult decisions about the city's regrowth; although many citizens were initially frustrated by zoning changes and other measures, we can now clearly see the Tuscaloosa that Mayor Maddox and city leaders had envisioned.
To this date, the City of Tuscaloosa has invested over $130 million in recovery: $6 million for planning and administration, $14.4 million for economic development, $10.2 million for housing, and $99 million for infrastructure.
312 new jobs have been created by loan programs. 33 small business loans (valued at $1.95 million) and 16 commercial revolving loans (valued at $2.74 million) have played a major role in the city's recovery process.
Tuscaloosa still has room for growth and change, and to this date, the city has close to a billion dollars in unmet needs--$629.7 million for infrastructure, $64.7 million for housing, and $227.8 million for economic revitalization.