ROAD TO RECOVERY: Ruston storm restoration efforts

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RUSTON, LA. (KARD/KTVE) – For the past two months, the City of Ruston has been going through an inspection process for every structure that was damaged in the tornado last April.

“We had already sent out two letters prior to that over the last 3 or 4 months,” Mayor Ronny Walker said. “Now we are at the point of taking them to the city council and asking them for permission to start the condemnation process.”

Mayor Walker says of the 15 building owners who were notified earlier this year, at least 12 have already made plans for demolition or reconstruction. Owners can ask for more time if needed, they just need to inform the city of their plans.

“We’ve tried to give people enough time, because we realize it takes a while to get your insurance lined up and all of those things,” Mayor Walker said. “But from a city’s standpoint we’ve got to move forward. We’ve got to continue this healing process– getting back to normal process.

City officials say the properties will not be demolished immediately.

“It’s a long process,” Mayor Walker said. “Even if we condenmed one and the city was going to tear it down, it would still take us 90 to 120 days to get to that point, so there’s a lot of time in between there.”

Mayor Walker says this process is working to help Ruston heal.

“The tarps are going away.” Mayor Walker said. “The houses that were damaged beyond repair are going away, hopefully someone will come in and buy the property or those people will build a new structure there. So the healing process is happening, we are getting back to normal.”

Mayor Walker says the city isn’t putting pressure on anyone to act quickly, but rather let the city know their plans. The purpose of this process is to make sure these structures don’t continue to deteriorate.

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