MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (AP) With the scope of the devastation still sinking in, business owners and residents of the central Iowa city of Marshalltown on Friday began picking up bricks from collapsed buildings, dragging away downed trees and trying to return to the lives they knew before a powerful tornado roared through their community.
Structures throughout Marshalltown, a city of 27,000, were hit by the Thursday afternoon tornado but some of the worst damage was to the historic courthouse and brick buildings that line the citys quaint town square. For years, officials and property owners have slowly worked to spruce up the buildings, only to see them devastated in minutes.
Since 2002 weve spent $50 million in building renovations and now to see these, Im just sick, said Jenny Etter, executive director of the Marshalltown Central Business District, a nonprofit group. We were making giant strides in restoring the downtown so this is really devastating to us because we were on a roll. These buildings were beautiful.