CLOVERDALE — A mere 48 hours after a tornado caused severe damage to much of the Putnam County village of Cloverdale, village officials reported that nearly 50 percent of the cleanup had been completed.
Cloverdale Mayor Judd Spencer, along with representatives from American Electric Power, The Putnam County Emergenyc Management Agency and other area organizations and government agencies, held a meeting Wednesday afternoon at the St. Barbara Catholic Church Parish Hall, the only building on church property still completely intact. Food was provided during the meeting by AEP, and Lowe’s Home Improvement provided bottled water and five gallon buckets to residents during the meeting.
According to Spencer, 70 AEP employees were hard at work to get power restored for as many properties as possible.
“I was advised that they were not going to give up until they could get as much restored as they could by 10 p.m.,” he said. “They feel they are making leaps and bounds.”
Representatives from AEP offered assurances during the meeting that all efforts are being made to restore power to the village, but said not all structures, even ones that appeared to be intact, would be safe to have power restored to them.
“Not all structures are viable to be reconnected,” AEP Ohio community relations manager Randy Payne said during the meeting. “I know some people think that their houses are OK to be reconnected. They’re not. There are assessment people out there looking at every structure, and if it doesn’t meet certain standards, they are simply not able to restore power to it safely.”
As the cleanup continues, ironically, the weather, which had caused all this damage, has become an ally, as conditions have remained calm for the last two days.
“The weather is holding out for us, which helps a lot,” Spencer said. “It’s chilly, but there’s no high winds or rain or snow, so that helps out a lot in how things can be handled.”
Another positive, of sorts, from the weather is that the damage from Sunday’s storms was relatively localized to Cloverdale, allowing most of the relief efforts in Putnam County to be directed to the village.
“There was some damage in the surrounding area, but the main concentration is right here in Cloverdale,” Steven Odenweller, director of the Putnam County EMA, said during the meeting. “So we can try to get more of the help you need here.”
Even with a partially collapsed wall from St. Barbara’s Church behind him, Spencer displayed a quiet confidence in the people of his community as he looked to the future.
“We’re taking it a day at a time,” he said. “But we’ll rebuild. We were small and mighty before, and we’ll come back stronger yet.”