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4 things about town's comeback after huge tornado

  • Article by: The Associated Press
  • Associated Press
  • May 6, 2014 - 1:05 PM

GREENSBURG, Kan. — Here are four things to know about the struggles of Greensburg, Kansas, a town 100 miles west of Wichita that was flattened by a tornado in 2007 and then reimagined as a model of sustainable energy on the Plains:

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POWERFUL STORM: The storm that scraped much of the town of 1,500 to its foundations was nearly two miles wide at one point and had winds topping 200 mph.

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MAKING GREENSBURG GREEN: After the storm, environmentalists, architects and then-Gov. Kathleen Sebelius promoted a reconstruction that would be a template of energy sustainability. Weathered storefronts typical of rural Kansas were replaced by structures like the Silo Eco-Home, a round concrete structure built to sustain hurricane-force winds. The new city hall has solar panels and ground-source heat pumps, while the renovated courthouse features geothermal heating. A wind farm was built to power up to 4,000 homes.

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