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Returning To Normal: Garland Starts Rebuilding

Stephanie Kuo
Damage to a home in Garland following storms.

Garland has started a 10-week cleanup, and kids have returned to school, after last month’s deadly tornado. 

City officials have spent the past week making sure buildings hit by the tornado are safe for homeowners to enter.

The city has hired a company to oversee the debris removal from city streets. That process began today, and Mayor Doug Athas estimates it will take about 10 weeks.

You can fill up a truck, almost every house or two in some locations, so it will take a little while to make all those loads. We’ll be working hard to advance that, of course, and things may come along and make it a little easier, but there could also be things that delay it, so we’ll see,” Athas said.

Credit Stephanie Kuo / KERA News
Tornado damage in Garland.

The mayor said homeowners and volunteers should move vehicles that could block access to affected neighborhoods. They should also keep storm debris separate from household garbage. The city will only be collecting debris.

Getting back to normal

The tornado affected approximately one square mile of Garland, Athas said. The city is 57 square miles. While the storm didn’t have an impact on the majority of the city, Athas said, many residents have a lot of rebuilding to do.

“Garland has a very bright future. We’ll continue that way. We’ll be doing a lot of building and rebuilding over the next year.”

Eleven people died in the tornadoes that hit North Texas on December 26. Eight of those people died in Garland.

10 days after the storm, students return to school

In Garland and Rowlett, students returned to school on Tuesday morning after a deadly tornado ripped through hundreds of homes last month.

Garland ISD set up 18 temporary bus stops in the hardest-hit neighborhoods. The City of Garland helped set up these stops to keep students away from debris.

Spokesman Chris Moore said staff will be at each bus stop to support families over the next few weeks.

We’ll be out there as long as we need to in order to get those students out of those neighborhoods and create as safe of a drop off and pick up location as we can.”

Crews began removing debris Monday, and city officials expect the process will last about 10 weeks. Moore says Garland ISD schools are also collecting donations and offering counseling for students.

“We know that the long-term effects of this will be much more lasting than just tomorrow — and the long term trauma that could have resulted from this."

“We’re going to have our hands full, and we’re going to do everything we can to help students many, many weeks into this new semester,” he said.

Moore says the tornado affected more than 1,000 Garland students, who attend 60 different schools. Six bus stops are located in Garland south of Interstate 30 near Bobtown Road, and 12 are in Rowlett by Pearson and Herferth Elementaries.