Brookport, IL -
It's been a long, emotional, and at times, rough 14 months for Brookport - and for city council member Tom Souders.
"We just can't let it die," he told Local 6.
He hopes $3 million is enough of a kick-start to prevent that from happening. In December, the state of Illinois deposited $2.8 million in the town's coffers to repair or tear down tornado-damaged city property like the old gym. "It's leaked all over and for the longest time, we tried to keep crews down there to keep the water out of it, but it was a losing battle," Souders said.
Plans also include moving city hall into the empty Integra building. The roads will be re-paved at a cost of almost $2 million. Trucks tore them up during debris removal.
"Engineers are working on the final plan on what we're going to fix and not fix," he said.
The announcement of a fresh start is welcome news to homeowners like Marilyn Loudermilk. "We can start getting things back to normal more than they are now," Loudermilk said.
Repair costs for her home topped $20,000. "This is my home. I'm not going anywhere so I'm looking forward to it to build back like it was, if not better," she said.
Work on the city projects will take months. Contracts have to be written and put out for bid. Souders expects getting started by the summer.
"Just going to be a long, hard road, but we'll do it," he said.
Other communities in south central Illinois will receive state aid from the November 2013 tornado. Massac County received $31,399. The money was paid by the Illinois Department of Transportation and the Illinois Emergency Management Agency.