On Sunday, April 10, 2011, Governor Terry Branstad visited Mapleton after a tornado ripped through town. He couldn’t drive down the street that day as residents and volunteers were busy that afternoon cleaning up all the trees and debris.
Branstad was back in Mapleton on Friday, Nov. 1, for the first time since that day. The Rebuild and Recover Mapleton Long-term Recovery Board invited him to the community on behalf of the Mapleton City Council and the residents of the city to hear about the town’s recovery efforts.
“I’m really glad to be back and see the progress that’s been made,” Branstad said.
Marie Whiteing, coordinator of Rebuild and Recover, spoke briefly about the progress that has been made since 2011. Many homes have been built and repaired and trees are being planted to replace the 1,500 trees lost in tornado.
Gov. Branstad saw the plans that have been developed in the past 18 months for Mapleton, all made a reality because the community was awarded a Community Visioning Grant from the State of Iowa.
As a result of this experience, the Rebuild and Recover Mapleton Long-term Recovery Board has been working closely with Iowa State University, the Iowa Department of Transportation, and Trees Forever, developing plans for future projects that include water and sewer improvements, street and lighting issues, housing needs, and recreation opportunities.
About 30 Mapleton residents, including a number of Rebuild and Recover board members, were on hand to welcome the governor.
Branstad is excited about the community’s progress. He also took a short tour of the community. He said visiting all the communities in Iowa is one of the best parts of his job.
The issue was also brought up that Iowa does have a place to go for recovery after a disaster. Branstad said the state handles disasters fine, but needs to work on a putting something together for recovery after a disasters.