Naperville news: Residents still cleaning up after 2021 tornado; group secures $1.5M in funding

Funding coming from city of Naperville, state

John Garcia Image
Thursday, August 24, 2023
Naperville residents still cleaning up after 2021 tornado
Some Naperville, Illinois residents are still cleaning up after a 2021 tornado. A volunteer group has secured $1.5M in funding to help.

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- It's been more than two years since an EF3 tornado caused massive damage in Naperville, and clean-up efforts continue.

City and state dollars are being used to help people rebuild.

Katie Long Piper showed some of the dangerous fragments she has recovered in the last few months from her yard, including shards of glass and construction debris.

The tornadoes in June of 2021 caused devastation to Piper's entire neighborhood.

Like many of her neighbors, her family had to find a place to live for several months while crews repaired the house. But the work continues.

"It's always something. I feel like for two years I haven't had a day off from the tornado," Piper said.

She lost 11 trees and her pool.

SEE MORE: Naperville Tornado: Naperville home destroyed, leaving couple on couch covered in debris

But, more than two years later, a volunteer group, Naperville Tornado Relief, has helped secure state and city funding of $1.5 million to finish the job, replacing contaminated yards and doing major landscape remediation.

"What we're going and doing is excavating our 4 inches of topsoil and hand-combing the beds out, picking the stuff out by hand," said Matt Hively, with Hively landscaping.

Kristy Kennedy has spearheaded the volunteer effort, even though her own home nearby escaped damage.

"We just saw the hardship our community was going through trying to recover," Kennedy said.

The neighborhood is a buzz of activity with tractors and other equipment digging out yards and replacing dirt.

"We are also a city that comes together to help. This is an example of residents who saw the need and did the heavy lift on this," Naperville Mayor Scott Wehrli said.

The program is expected to help about 82 Naperville families who are still dealing with the after-effects of the tornadoes of 2021.

They began the work this month and expect to have it all finished by October.