The city continues the tedious process of restoring the three historic cemeteries severely damaged during the April tornado.
City Councilors Tuesday hired tree removal company ArborMax to remove the damaged trees and any related debris. The company will complete the work work at all three cemeteries — City Cemetery, Mt. Hope Cemetery and O’Rorke Catholic Cemetery — for about $190,000.
FEMA will reimburse the city the cleanup cost. According to city staff, cleanup should take about five weeks.
The EF3 tornado on April 16 tore the old, massive trees out of the ground as if they were saplings, damaging three cemeteries that date back to the 1700s. City Cemetery and Mt. Hope Cemetery are on the National Register of Historic Places and O’Rourke Catholic Cemetery was recently designated as a local history landmark.
Prior to the removal, am archeological team painstakingly studied the trees to ensure there are no human remains in the roots or cavities.
After the major cleanup, the city will repair the headstones, fencing and any other remaining structural elements.