Hackleburg starting to look like home again as restoration projects near completion

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HACKLEBURG, Ala. (WHNT) - Four years after an EF-5 tornado hit the town of Hackleburg, it's starting to look like home again.

Restoration projects are almost finished after city leaders said grant and insurance paperwork finally cleared.

They recently finished construction on their new joint city hall and police department. The new school is set to open this fall, and the town's supermarket will be ready later this month.

"We're hoping that the people of this town will finally be able to get a little bit of closure from the storm," said Hackleburg Police Chief Kenny Hallmark.

The police station was one of many vital buildings wiped out by the tornado. They have been extremely patient while their building was reconstructed.

"That's an understatement," the chief said. "It literally was a closet before we moved in there. The police department has been a long time coming. We've struggled, and the citizens have suffered some for it but we're anxious and we're excited for what we've got now."

An emergency operations center is now a part of the police station, something Chief Hallmark said was a hard lesson learned.

"In all honestly we didn't take storms seriously before, we never believed it would be us. Now that we know it is a possibility, we want to prepare and be readily available to take care of our citizens," he said.

They're also working on another project, an underground sewer system. It's something city leaders said they've never had but it's already an asset to the city. Mayor Waymon Cochran said they almost lost the funding, and without that sewer system Hackleburg would have been wiped off the map.

However, crews are working on that underground sewer system now. It's brought in two new businesses and Wrangler back to Hackleburg.

City leaders are slowly moving into their new offices over the next few weeks and the new farmers market is their newest project. They will hold a groundbreaking for everything on June 24.