Prattville on the Mend after February Tornado

Prattville, AL (WSFA) -- It's been a long month for John O'Driscoll and his family.  His house is gone--destroyed by the feburary tornado that took aim at a strip of Prattville's business district and residential neighborhoods.

Now, only a few items remain.

"[We still have] a lot of furniture [and] pictures.  We lost a lot of toys," O'Driscoll said.

It's an unfortunate tale for scores of residents.  The twister destroyed about 75 homes.  Twice that number need major repairs, and hundreds more will require minor re-construction.

Contractors say they have a long way to go.

"The builders that have the houses, they meet with the folks and get the job, and we come in for them," explained contractor Kelly Murphy.

There are many signs of progress.  Many homes are now repaired.  Some businesses and city buildings are also back up and running, but recovery is often an arduous process.

"We have several smaller businesses that are probably going to be closed--the estimate was 60 days, but they're coming on slowly," said Prattville Mayor Jim Byard.

Though a handful of homes await major repair work--even demolition--many other houses are now leveled.

Lots are ready for a fresh start, only weeks after a brutal storm.  It's something homeowners welcome with open arms.

"This is a new beginning, and I think we're excited that there will be a new house on this property," O'Driscoll said.

So nearly a month after the fact, with the city of Prattville on the mend, residents--and city leaders--count their blessings.

"It could have been a lot worse.  It could have certainly been a lot worse," Byard said.

Reporter:  Cody Holyoke