Mayor Whitaker updates Greenville tornado

Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker. (Gaylen Blosser photo)

GREENVILLE – “I am just amazed at what has taken place the last six days,” said Greenville Mayor Jeff Whitaker. “Many people have come together, and the city of Greenville is a wonderful place to be, and we’re proving it again.”

Whitaker has been in office just over four months and has already been busy dealing with issues, including a train derailment inside the city limits and the May 7 tornado that made its way through the city.

“I want to thank all the citizens of Greenville who have treated their neighbors with respect as they have been helping them clean up,” Whitaker stated. “I want to thank all the municipalities that came here to help, the city of Sidney, the villages of New Madison, Versailles, and Bradford who sent people at the drop of a hat to help us clean up as much as they could in the neighborhoods and the park.”

“We had a very strong contingent of German Baptists who came out to the park and helped get a lot done over the weekend,” he continued. “We had a lot of people that volunteered and came out to the cemetery on Saturday and cleaned up. There are a lot of groups, including Tribute Funeral Home and Zechar Bailey Funeral Home, who took time and resources to feed the workers.”

The Mayor’s first priority is for the safety of the community and its citizens.

“I know a lot of people like to take walks through the park and cemetery but it has been very dangerous,” Whitaker noted. “Some trees are still crackling, and we don’t know when the wind can blow them down. I don’t want anyone walking through the park and getting hit by a tree.”

“I want to urge people to be patient as we are trying to clear all the debris and all the brush,” he added. “The city will come by and pick it up – just get it to the curb, and we will pick it up and make an all-out effort to get this done as quickly as possible.”

The recent tornado damaged extensive portions of the Greenville City Park, Greenville Union Cemetery, and the Greenville football stadium.

“Our park is a sad situation,” Whitaker said. “We have a park that is the most beautiful park in the surrounding area. I can’t think of a municipality that has a park like ours and to lose all the trees that we’ve lost is going to take 75 or 100 years to get it back to where it was a week ago but I know we have a lot of people that are willing to help and donate trees, and I ask people to stay tuned for those efforts.”

Utility employees and workers brought praise from Mayor Whitaker for their quick response and tireless hours of service in getting utilities restored in a timely manner.

“All the utilities have worked hand in hand with the city and street departments,” said Whitaker. “It has been an amazing effort from everyone and quarterbacking the whole situation has been my great Safety Service Director Ryan Delk. He knows what he’s doing, and how to coordinate things. Everybody is working well together, and he manages it extremely well.”