FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – After an EF-5 tornado ripped through the town of Phil Campbell three years ago much has changed, and yet a lot has stayed the same.
Gone are the mounds of debris and some new businesses are coming in, but it’s still a far cry from the bustling town that once stood there.
Overgrown lots hide the scars of a day when the landscape in Phil Campbell changed forever.
Weeds stand where homes once stood, while some roads remain abandoned with no sign of life past their curbs.
“After the tornado I think we displaced about 350 people,” said Phil Campbell Mayor Steve Bell. “We may have half of them back right now.”
But among the scars, Mayor Bell says things are looking up for the town of 1,000 people who are here.
New homes and buildings are starting to dot the hill sides, and a new high school is nearing completion.
All are signs of rejuvenation at the hands of many, from both inside and outside the town.
“We continue to get more and more aid and more help and resources in,” explained Bell. “Volunteers, that’s the heartbeat of all of it. Neighbors helping neighbor.”
Mayor Bell said they have many priority projects going right now. Those include fixing a damaged sewer system, paving, and luring jobs back into the area.
“Well, we’re back and I think we will be better than before. The way everybody is working together with just the community involvement and the community spirit has really been outstanding for this area.”
And Mayor Bell said with a clean slate, the next three years will define what the town of Phil Campbell is all about.
On Friday afternoon the Community Action Partnership of North Alabama broke ground on a new housing development adding 24 units in Phil Campbell.
Mayor Bell also says look for a jobs announcement in Phil Campbell in the future.