After Tornado, Mapleton Still Rebuilding Three Years Later

Paul Gutierrez

MAPLETON, IA (KPTM) - Wednesday marked a somber anniversary for Mapleton. It has now been three years since an EF3 tornado slammed into the city causing thousands of dollars in damage.

"It just looked like you'd been through a war zone," said Steve Oberg, a member of the town's rebuilding committee and superintendent of the school district.

To this day, you can still see visible signs of destruction. At the town's entrance, a grain elevator is still caved in. At a nearby power pole, a piece of metal is still stuck and nobody can seem to get it out. Also, garage sidings on some houses still show scars caused by Mother Nature.

"We were lucky it wasn't worse," recalled John Stoll, a resident of Mapleton for more than 30 years.

Mapleton, however, looks much different. It's the result of reconstruction and people banding together to make it happen.

"We've rebuilt a number of houses. I think around 25 houses," said Oberg. "A lot of the other ones were repaired and renovated."

Although Oberg hopes to never see another storm like the one in 2011 that tore through Mapleton, he does see one silver lining.

"In the end, the tornado will benefit this city. It will make it a stronger community and a better community. It probably cleaned up some areas that needed to be cleaned up over time."

The City of Mapleton has received grants from the State of Iowa. Those will help pay for roadside work and a new trail. The rebuilding committee is also hoping for federal grants.