Destroyed mobile home parks prepare to rebuild after tornado

Destroyed mobile home parks prepare to rebuild after tornado
The mobile home parks are getting assistance (Source:WALB)
Missy Roberts, Property Manager (Source:WALB)
Missy Roberts, Property Manager (Source:WALB)
Michael McCoy, Asst. County Administrator (Source:WALB)
Michael McCoy, Asst. County Administrator (Source:WALB)

DOUGHERTY CO., GA (WALB) - People who once lived in one Dougherty County neighborhood, that took a direct hit from January's deadly tornado, now only have hours to say good bye to their old homes.

Former tenants at Big Pine Estates have until Wednesday to remove their belongings from the property.

Dougherty County officials are currently working with the federal government to make repairs at four mobile home parks.

Three people died at Big Pines Estates, which was formerly know as Paradise Village, during the January tornadoes.

The streets are now silent, but the strollers and bikes littered throughout Big Pine Estates paint a picture of a neighborhood that was changed in an instant.

"A lot of them have told me that life goes on," Property manager Missy Roberts said. "You know, its devastating, but you have to move on from it."

A sign at the front of the trailer park marks another step in the long, emotional process of moving on.

It reads that all former residents must remove their belongings from the property by Wednesday.

"Its still emotional any time we talk about it, but they're moving on," Roberts said. "A lot of them have already gotten permanent places that they're going to be living."

Property managers said mostly everyone has moved their stuff out. So, now they can begin the process of rebuilding by teaming up with local and federal governments.

"I was very impressed by what I saw," Dougherty County Assistant Administrator Michael McCoy said. "Our citizens are very resilient and people are moving forward with recovering from the storms."

FEMA and some Dougherty County funds will help pay for the removal of debris and destruction of structures in four mobile home parks deemed a public health threat after the tornado.

Managers said they hope to eventually rebuild homes where many now lay destroyed.

"I've asked a lot of them, if they'll come back," Roberts said. "I'm hoping that they will."

Roberts adds she's excited to see the vibrant community heal, and come back home.

Big Pine Estate property managers said they believe clean up could take several months, but that they intend to rebuild at the start of next year, if possible.

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