COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - One year ago today, April 19, 2009, Phenix City and Columbus saw an EF2 tornado rip through the Bi-Cities with winds as high as 115 miles per hour.
John Lester, spokesman for Columbus State University, says he remembers that Sunday night like it was yesterday. "It was scary, I mean we obviously have hundreds of students who are living downtown. We were concerned about them and concerned about the downtown we love so much."
Columbus State University's downtown campus received a lot of damage. The roof was torn off of the Corn Center and a large section of the ac-board depot was taken out.
Besides the damage to structures, thousands of trees along the tornado's path were knocked down and tossed about.
One year later, Columbus has come a long way toward rebuilding and replanting what was damaged. Trees Columbus made it their goal to replace as many lost trees as they could. Over the past year they have replaced almost 100 trees destroyed by the storm.
All the damaged homes on 7th Street in Phenix City have been completely repaired; however, the nearby Valley Lanes bowling alley was torn down and will not be rebuilt.