July 29 marks the three months since destructive tornado in Butler, Sedgwick counties

A tornado struck Sedgwick and Butler counties on Friday, April 29, 2022. It left behind a path...
A tornado struck Sedgwick and Butler counties on Friday, April 29, 2022. It left behind a path of destruction, but luckily no fatalities.(John Hughes)
Published: Jul. 29, 2022 at 2:58 PM CDT
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ANDOVER, Kan. (KWCH) - Friday marks the three months since a devastating tornado tore through Andover and the southeastern part of Sedgwick County.

Since the April 29, 2022 tornado, the City of Andover said 29 building permits and 38 demo permits have been pulled. The United Way has had contact with 107 of the 187 families who made cases following the tornado. Case managers are still contacting the remaining 80 to assess needs.

“We are starting to see progress on many of the impacted lots,” said Mayor Ronnie Price. “Every time a heavily damaged home comes down and a rebuild starts, it’s another step forward.”

The city is working with LK Architecture and Professional Engineering Consultants (PEC) to rebuild the Lodge at Central Park. The Lodge is expected to be demoed this month, and a new facility will open later in 2023. The city said the rebuild will be open for community input.

Crews continue to prepare Prairie Creek Elementary School for the first day of class. The city said workers replaced windows and carpet, repainted walls, and conducted other repairs. New flooring in the gym and cafeteria were both installed this week. Though some classrooms will still need cabinetry and other items replaced, the school is set to open to all students and staff when school begins on Aug. 11.

“Going into this summer, we didn’t know if it would be possible for all of Prairie Creek to re-open at the beginning of the year,” Superintendent Brett White said. “But through the hard work of Hutton and other partners, we’ll have the building ready to go. While we were fortunate to hold the final two weeks of the 2021-22 school year in multiple locations, we know it’s best for all of our Prairie Creek Panthers to be together under one roof.”

Cleanup and rebuilding also continue at the Andover YMCA.

“The April 29 tornado caused extensive damage to the Dr. Jim Farha Andover YMCA, but we are so proud of our staff that night whose quick response saved many lives,” said Shane Loy, Vice President of Operations for the YMCA. “The YMCA remains an important part of the community, and we have continued to meet the health and wellness needs of Andover families without interruption. We are working hard during the rebuilding and recovery process to ensure the Andover Y comes back stronger than ever and is here for many years to come.”

A Long-Term Recovery Committee was created to strengthen disaster relief/recovery coordination between the City of Andover and Butler and Sedgwick Counties by sharing information, simplifying resident access to resources, and resolving cases with unmet needs. The committee consists of members from the community.

Financial donations are still being accepted and 100 percent of the proceeds go to disaster relief efforts. Donations can be made through unitedwayplains.org. If someone you know has been impacted by the tornado and has not spoken to the United Way yet, have them call 211.

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