Special Reports

Help still needed after '07 Greensburg tornado

The city of Greensburg still needs volunteers and money as it continues to build and recover from the May 4, 2007, tornado that destroyed 95 percent of the town.

Just this week, walls went up at the new city hall, and the Streetscape project -- a four-block stretch of main street that is getting new landscaping, water lines and decorative sidewalks -- is under way.

"There is lots going on every day," said Kim Alderfer, assistant city administrator.

The city hall is scheduled to be finished in June.

Alderfer said volunteers are needed with the Greensburg Community Self-Help Housing Program, where future homeowners and volunteers work together to build homes. The program is through Mennonite Housing in Wichita.

The project began in June with a goal of 10 new homes. Those are done and the new homeowners are settled in. Now, 13 more are under construction.

"Our plan is for a total of 30 homes," said Linda Howard, Mennonite Housing's volunteer coordinator for Greensburg.

She said all kinds of volunteers are needed, skilled and unskilled. The houses are in various stages of construction.

"There is something for everybody to do," said Howard.

Howard said help has come from many places.

Groups from families, churches, colleges and an electrician school have gone to Greensburg to help.

Appliances for the first 10 homes were donated by Whirlpool.

Electric companies, small and large, have donated labor and supplies.

A senior residence in Wichita put together a cookbook to sell, raising $1,200 for Greensburg.

Mennonite Housing provides meals and housing for as long as volunteers want to stay.

With fewer donations being made to the community, the city and schools are holding fundraisers to pay for projects, Alderfer said.

One project, the Incubator Building, is expected to be finished by the end of the month. It got its name because it is being built to hatch new businesses. It will house 10 small businesses that will be allowed to stay about four years, at which point new ones will move in.