City of Louisville sees major progress five years after EF-4 tornado

WINSTON COUNTY,Miss.(WCBI) – With winds as strong as 185 miles an hour, the EF4 tornado moved into Winston County five years ago Sunday.

It was devastating in every way.

Through the loss that came after, the community found each other and the strength to move forward.

There are still scars in Winston County and the city of Louisville.

The kind you can see and the kind you can’t.

But the healing is there, as well.

Out of tragedy comes community.

And, the city of Louisville and Winston County used their collective grief to rebuild their homes and their lives.

Mayor Will Hill said it’s okay to look to the past, but it’s better to work towards the future.

“We don’t want to dwell on the history of that day we feel like we have memorialized it in the past. We also always want to remember and give respect to those who lost the most in those lives in memories. But the last five years have been incredible, just the hard work the dedication and perseverance. Previous tornado we were suffering from a recession, five years post-tornado it’s been about recovery,” said Mayor Hill.

There’s a state of the art hospital now. And, Winston Plywood and Veneer Plant have been rebuilt. Along with a storm shelter.

The Ivy Park Sports Complex looks brand new, with a splash pad, playground, 8 fields under construction, and a concession stand.

“Hard-work and dedication pays off, and that’s the same thing with our community. Coming together, working hard, having a vision. That’s what we’re consistently doing even with celebrating some of these things. We still have quite a bit of projects in the pipeline so just staying in the course, working hard. If we take this positive momentum and keep going, Louisville has great potential,” said Mayor Hill.

Everyone agreed. It’s the people who made it that way.

Executive director Mike Dowe helped with the Winston Strong Recovery Committee.

“One thing that helped us recover was that there were no private agendas. Everyone had the same agenda to get our community rebuilt to help the people who have lost everything. The main thing you can do in a situation like that is to offer people hope. That’s number one priority,” said Dowe.

From donating clothes and food to volunteering with construction, Winston Strong provided ways for people to get involved in the community rebuilding effort.

And, it is serving as a model for other storm-stricken areas.

Mayor Hill said there are still places the city is rebuilding.

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