What a difference a year makes. From disaster zone to something new. We're about a month away from the one-year anniversary of a tornado that tore up parts of Atlanta Highway near Taylor Road in east Montgomery.
A November tornado touched down and really did a number not just on the Fun Zone, but Saddleback Ridge Apartments and a few homes and business in between.
Beau Daniel remembers.
"I'll never forget it when I first got here. I thought maybe we had a few holes in the roof but it was so much more," Daniel said. Daniel is the Director of Operations at Foshee Management Company.
The 52 apartments destroyed have since been rebuilt, new landscaping and all that's left are memories for people like Prince Wright. Wright, a native Texan, never thought tornados could be this strong in Alabama.
"I guess I learned you gotta expect the unexpected, and take better precaution next time," Wright said.
Wright was among the lucky ones. His apartment was damaged but he didn't lose any personal belongings. Wright was among the 75 residents who were displaced while the owners began a massive clean up and rebuilding job. It took right at 11 months to get it done.
It's the same story in neighboring Taylor Crossing, a neighborhood that's bounced back and cleaned up.
"This just shows that life can change in a second, and we were very fortunate," Daniel said.
Some things, however, will remain the same. The tornado destroyed the Fun Zone which was primarily a skating rink for kids. Instead of rebuilding the business owners decided to re-locate in Dothan for business reasons. Today, the property has pockets of overgrown weeds, the only visible scar to remind us just how powerful twisters can be and in this case the fortunate outcome; no one killed and not one person seriously hurt.
At Saddleback Ridge Apartments, a total of 52 apartments were destroyed along with 8 buildings. In all $2 million dollars worth of damage.
Meantime, Beau Daniel says he plans to reward residents for their patience during the re-building process by offering do-nuts Friday morning before they go to work and a live band with free hamburgers and hot dogs Friday night.