Highland: Rebuilding Eight Months After the Storm

HIGHLAND, AR (KAIT) -- On February 5th, 2008 a single tornado hit several cities across Region 8.  Now those cities are still trying to rebuild their towns.

"Since we started working on this one there's been several businesses go back," said builder Trumann Sisney.

Sisney is working on his third tornado victim's home.

"I just couldn't ask for a better builder.  We're just so pleased," said homeowner Isabelle Adams.

Adams said she's ready to get back into her home.

"We couldn't decide whether to rebuild or to go somewhere else.  We finally decided just to go back here," said Adams.

A lot of work has been done around town since the storm hit.  Some homeowners, however, say they don't think their homes are being finished quickly enough.

"We've rebuilt.  The inside looks pretty good.  It's just not finished yet," said Betty Hertzler.

Hertzler said they started the effort to rebuild their home right after the storm.

"We've started rebuilding, which isn't finished yet but we have started.  We still have a mess in the yard and still have a lot to clean up and pick up," said Hertzler.

She said she's happy her house is as far along as it is, she just wants it to be done.

"I'd just like to see my house finished so I can have a family get together," said Hertzler.

Hertzler's contractor said they are working to get the house completely finished.

Meanwhile over at the Adams residence they are just a few short weeks from moving into their new home.

When the tornado hit, most of the structures impacted were businesses.  In fact, this spring about half of the tax base for the city of Highland was gone.  Over the past eight months, multiple businesses have rebuilt and reopened.  Highland Mayor Jerome Norwood said that now that number is down to about a 20% loss of tax base.