Dayton looks to help residents with cleanup
Tornadoes damaged 460 structures citywide and downed 1,400 trees.
By Cornelius Frolik
Staff Writer

Dayton’s cleanup efforts after Monday’s rampaging tornadoes have made progress, but it will take weeks or longer before some blocks and areas look anything like normal again.

Dayton’s roadways were reopened after crews removed trees and other debris that blocked traffic. About 80 traffic lights in the city went out after the storm, but only five were not working by late Friday.

The traffic lights that were still out Friday evening are at Stanley Avenue and Interstate 75, Riverton Drive and Shoup Mill Road, Stanley Avenue and Keowee Street, and Kuntz Road and Troy Street.

The tornadoes and storm knocked down about 1,400 trees, and large limbs and splintered trunks continued to block public right-of-ways and cause problems and headaches on private property.

City workers have been out with chainsaws, dump trucks, loaders, and bucket and crane vehicles to clear roadways and public spaces.

The city will help residents clean up after this extraordinary weather event, City Manager Shelley Dickstein said. Next week, the city plans to hire contractors to help remove debris and trees from private properties.

“No time in the history of Dayton have we had four tornadoes converge and ravage through the community,” Dickstein said.

Dayton’s public works department is working on a plan to provide cleanup assistance to the community.

Residents might be able to drag brush or limbs to the curb, but some very large trees were toppled that would be difficult to move, city officials said.

The city is finalizing arrangements for three contractors to help residents in the four impacted neighborhoods with large tree removal, said Tom Ritchie Jr., Dayton’s deputy director of public works.

About 415 structures in Dayton sustained minor to moderate damage, while 45 were severely damaged. The effected neighborhoods include Deweese, Old North Dayton, North Riverdale and Wright View. After search and rescue work concluded, clearing the streets was the most urgent priority, though these activities were slowed by downed power lines.

The community hopefully will be patient, because the recovery will take time and there is a lot of work to do, Commissioner Darryl Fairchild said.