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LA PLATA TORNADO

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Title: LA PLATA TORNADO


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LA PLATA - A RURAL MUNICIPALITY
  • County seat
  • Geographic center of County
  • Transportation hub
  • Provides county-wide services
  • 25 Tax exempt property

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BENCHMARKS IN LA PLATAS HISTORY
  • 1873 First railroad train to La Plata
  • 1888 Town incorporated
  • 1894 Became County Seat
  • 1940 US 301 completed
  • 1966 St. Charles built
  • 2002 Tornado

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1926 TORNADO
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LA PLATA - A GROWTH AREA
  • AREA POPULATION
  • 1960 1082 1214
  • 1970 1098 1561
  • 1980 3874 2484
  • 1990 4073 5841
  • 2000 4670 6600
  • 2004 4700 8000

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TORNADO APPROACHING700 PM - APRIL 28, 2002
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DESTROYING BUSINESS DISTRICT
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LEAVING CHARLES COUNTY
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AERIAL PHOTO
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DAMAGED BUILDINGS
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EXTENT OF DAMAGE
  • Destroyed
  • 41 SF homes
  • 6 Apartment buildings
  • 48 Commercial buildings (165 businesses)
  • 1 School building
  • 1 Water Tower
  • 430 buildings suffered major damage

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INITIAL RESPONSE
  • Fire and rescue agencies
  • Police departments
  • Local government officials and agencies
  • State agencies
  • Established command post at County Building in La
    Plata

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IMMEDIATE ACTION
  • Search and rescue
  • Security
  • Infrastructure
  • Water system
  • Wells
  • WWTP plant
  • Human needs

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RESCUE SQUAD BUILDING
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NOT JUST REPAIR RE-CONSTRUCTION
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PROBLEM AREAS
  • Communications
  • No electricity
  • Town Hall damaged - telephone system inoperative
  • Cable TV system out
  • Roads impassable
  • Sightseers

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INFRA-STRUCTURE
  • Wastewater Treatment Plant
  • Minor damage
  • Personnel
  • Water system failed
  • Hospital without enough water pressure to function

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RESTORATION OF ELECTRICITY
  • Power out across two counties
  • Southern Maryland Electric Company re-arranged
    power grid to get wells back up for service
  • First well back on line at 830 PM
  • Second well in service by 900 PM
  • Power restored in peripheral areas by Midnight

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DEBRIS REMOVAL
  • Clear roadways
  • Established transfer station for rubble
  • Disaster aid
  • SHA - 25 of total resources in state
  • MEMA - arranged for rubble disposal
  • 26 jurisdictions in Maryland and the District of
    Columbia - 300 pieces of equipment and 600
    workers on Monday after tornado
  • COST OF DISPOSAL - 2.5 MILLION

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A LITTLE HELP FROM OUR FRIENDS
  • MRWA, MES, Etc. called immediately
  • 26 Jurisdictions responded to call
  • Ocean City - EMD arrived 10 AM, Mayor 2 PM,
    Disaster unit arrived 6 AM on 30th
  • Washington DC - 150 people by Tuesday morning
  • Baltimore City 17 pieces of equipment, 35 men
    next week
  • Oxford 1 man and 1 truck

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STATE AID
  • Governors support - Vision Plan for Smart Growth
  • Formed task force
  • Committed financial aid
  • State agencies committed to assist
  • Legislative support
  • Budget committees Senate and House on site visit
    - approval for funding

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BUSINESS PRESERVATION
  • Identify businesses that have been affected
  • Provide assistance
  • Identify opportunities for relocation
  • Inform the public

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TEMPORARY OFFICES
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REBUILDING
  • Single family residential - independent
  • Apartments
  • Mixed use
  • Increase density for smart growth
  • Commercial buildings
  • Opportunities
  • Sense of urgency

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OBJECTIVES FOR REBUILDING
  • Create walking downtown - make it a destination
  • Increase density
  • Encourage multi-story mixed use buildings
  • Attract more retail and service businesses

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REBUILDING PROCESS
  • Temporary quarters
  • Develop a plan
  • Provide infrastructure
  • Procure financing
  • Offer incentives

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AREAS OF OPPORTUNITY
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VISION PLAN ADAPTATION
  • Washington Architectural Foundation
  • 3 design charrettes
  • Developed an overall plan
  • Worked with groups of property owners
  • USDA grant for consultant to develop economic
    development plan

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ROADBLOCKS
  • 1. Insurance companies
  • 2. Storm-water management regulations
  • 3. Sanitary sewer collection limitations
  • 4. Parking

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FINANCIAL AID FROM THE STATE OF MARYLAND
  • 100,000 - Immediate assistance
  • 1,400,000 - Vision plan financing
  • 500,000 - Neighborhood Conservation
  • Low Interest Loans

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FEDERAL GRANTS
  • 192,500 Sanitary Sewer upgrage
  • 192,500 Water Tower Replacement
  • 660,000 Stormwater Management
  • 100,000 Parking structure planning and design
  • 50,000 USDA economic plan
  • 150,000 Police station construction

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DIRECT CONTRIBUTIONS
  • Petroleum Dealers 25,000
  • Maryland Mayors 10,000
  • Homebuilders Association 20,000
  • Rotary clubs - nationwide 10,000
  • Local contractor 10,000
  • Robin Hill nursery 100 trees
  • Facchina Group Free rent for businesses

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MDOT ASSISTANCE
  • Debris removal (2,500,000)
  • Sidewalk installation
  • Centennial St. crossover Rt 301
  • Rt 301 intersection improvements
  • Infrastructure upgrades
  • Streetscape project

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STREETSCAPE PROJECT
  • Financed outside normal Neighborhood Conservation
    funding
  • Accelerated process
  • Extended into damaged area to improving town
    streets
  • Concept plan completed in 6 months

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STREETSCAPE IMPLEMENTATION
  • Divided into four phases
  • Phase one funded as part of tornado recovery
  • Town had to contribute 150,000
  • Design completed and bid awarded
  • Work scheduled to begin July 2004

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RECONSTRUCTION
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TEMPORARY TOWN CENTER
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CONSTRUCTION - TWO YEARS LATER
  • School and church rebuilt
  • All but four single family dwellings repaired or
    replaced
  • Two sold for commercial or public use
  • Fourteen commercial buildings not replaced
  • Two under construction that will replace 6 of
    them by consolidation of functions

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ECONOMIC HEALTH TWO YEARS LATER
  • Fifteen businesses, relocated or closed
  • Twenty five new businesses opened in area
    damaged, many others outside damaged area
  • New businesses include coffee shop and bakery in
    re-vitalization area

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LA PLATA, TWISTED NOT BROKEN
  • Buildings repaired - better than before
  • New commercial buildings average twice the
    assessed valuation
  • Long term problems with SSOs resolved with help
    of grant money
  • Streetscape greatly improved - Vision Plan
  • Sense of appreciation for community

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LESSONS LEARNED
  • Local officials need to maintain close
    relationships with other government agencies and
    jurisdictionsPrepare in advance
  • Agree on division of responsibilities as soon as
    possible
  • Maintain good records before, during and after

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MOST IMPORTANT
  • Inform the people involved
  • Timely meetings
  • News media
  • News letters and handout material
  • Personal contact
  • Open communications

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HOW ABOUT THE NEXT TIME?
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RADIO ALERT RECEIVERS
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WARNING SIREN
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ALERT SIREN COVERAGE
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POLICE STATIONCOMMUNITY CENTER
  • Police department headquarters
  • Hardened to withstand 170 mph winds
  • Emergency generator
  • Emergency shelter
  • Emergency operations center
  • Community meeting room

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SUMMARY
  • Opportunity to demonstrate Smart Growth
    Principles in accelerated manner
  • All agencies and private industry involved
  • Essential to economic growth of the Town and the
    County
  • Opportunity to overcome the sins of the past
    and plan for the future
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