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A Visit to Greensburg

| 10/29/2009 4:19:00 PM

Greensburg Arts Center 

Earlier this month I visited Greensburg, Kan., and toured a few of its many green buildings. It was a great trip, and you can see more photos from my visit in this Greensburg photo gallery.

Background. Greensburg is the rural Midwestern town that was struck by an EF5 tornado on May 4, 2007. The storm was 1.7 miles wide — it killed 11 people and destroyed most of the town.

After the storm, the people of Greensburg made a commitment to rebuilding the town as a model green community. That effort is already well underway, and you can even watch its progress on TV. A Greensburg TV series on the Planet Green network is following the progress of rebuilding. The third season begins filming soon.

My visit.  Mother Earth News is based in Topeka, Kan., so Greensburg is relatively close to where we’re located — about a 4 hour drive — but this was my first visit to the town. I took a walking tour guided by volunteers from Greensburg Greentown, a community-based nonprofit devoted to helping Greensburg build green.

So what does Greensburg look like these days? Well, there’s still a lot of evidence of the storm, even more than two years out. As our tour guides explained, Greensburg used to be locally known for its trees, but now most of the trees are gone. You can see from one end of town to the other — the view is wide open. Most of the storm debris is gone, too, but there are still remnants of many buildings — a wall here, some steps there. But already many homes and buildings have been rebuilt, and many more are under construction.

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