DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — It has been six months since an EF1 tornado ripped through parts of Wapakoneta, but city leaders are proud of how far the community has come since then.
The tornado caused the most damage near the I-75 and U.S. 33 corridor. It leveled an entire greenhouse and lifted up semi-trucks. Despite the damage, Mayor Steve Henderson said the community’s resiliency never wavered.
“A lot of things have changed, and in typical Wapakoneta form, we rebuilt and thank goodness the one tornado kind of went to the east and the other one went to the west and didn’t touch our downtown,” Henderson said.
In just six months, many of the businesses that were damaged are back open and even planning expansions. The Ohio Greenhouse Company was able to rebuild the entire greenhouse and they are in the early stages of building another facility. The truck stop right off of I-75 is also back open and looking to expand.
“The glass is half empty or the glass is half full, and the truck stop rebuilt. And now they’re expanding. And it’s just amazing what teamwork can do,” Henderson explained.
Arrowhead Lakes Resort also took a hard hit during the storm. The tornado lifted RVs and destroyed cabins and the 16,000 square foot clubhouse. Rose Bishop, the manager of the resort, said they are still in the rebuilding process, but it is not stopping them from welcoming campers.
“It’s wonderful, step-by-step, bit-by-bit, we’re getting there and every time we get something accomplished, it’s like a celebration,” Bishop said.
In total, the storm cost the city $1,396,422. Mayor Henderson said the city requested financial support from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency for disaster relief. They are hoping to be reimbursed for 75% of the cost of clean-up.
“I can’t say enough good things about Wapakoneta, our citizens. I mean, it just makes me proud to call this place my home,” Henderson said.