Beavercreek’s Gardenview neighborhood one year after the EF-3 tornado

Beavercreek’s Gardenview neighborhood one year after the EF-3 tornado

BEAVERCREEK — One of the three strongest twisters that hit the Miami Valley one year ago tonight during the 2019 Memorial Day tornado outbreak was in Beavercreek.

The city’s Gardenview neighborhood was one of the area’s hit hardest by the EF-3 tornado.

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Today, standing at the corner of Wendover and Rushston Drives in that plat, you can still see trees and homes with damage left over from the storm and one lot where a home was destroyed by the storm – the lot is overgrown with a concrete driveway that leads to a muddy hole where the foundation and home used to sit.

But there are also plenty of signs of progress in this neighborhood – standing on that same street corner, you can see plenty of homes that have been rebuilt – a sign of resiliency in Beavercreek.

Joe Howard remembers the storm coming through the Gardenview neighborhood. "All the trees were gone. All the phone poles were gone. All the wires were gone,” Howard said. “We were the hardest hit plat in Beavercreek. We were the ones that had to evacuate two days."

The tornado destroyed parts of his block, including his garage. "My garage was destroyed with two cars."

Howard has persevered through problems and rebuilt – just like many of his neighbors.

Here in Beavercreek, there’s pride in that.

“We’re very proud of the residents,” said City Manager Pete Landrum. “There’s going to be a lot time still to celebrate in the future – celebrate the rebuild, celebrate the no lives lost, those are key issues. You can replace a building. But no lives were lost. It’s a miracle, truly here in Beavercreek.”

Mayor Bob Stone added, “We’re quite proud. The progress has moved along probably as quickly as we could even imagine.”

The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on a celebration marking one year of recovery from the storms in Beavercreek. But city leaders say they’ll shoot for maybe the two-year mark in 2021 for that event. They say what they’ve gone through and risen out of together is worth remembering.

“It’s going to take that celebration in groups and crowds that will help some of the emotional scars that these people affected by the tornado suffered,” Mayor Stone said. “We can rebuild every house in the area and it still doesn’t take care of the emotional part of the people that lived through it.”