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Update: Quapaw Cleanup Process Concerns

Quapaw is feeling the impact April's EF-2 tornado had on its community.
QUAPAW, OK.--- The cleanup process looks like it's going very well. The city is running into problems after losing its bank, plus dozens of buildings are still without utilities. After 15 homes and four businesses were destroyed from the EF-2 tornado in Quapaw, the city is trying to replace the businesses and revenue they've lost.

"It hurts because we lost revenue from the utilities," said Terri Daniels, Quapaw City Clerk Treasurer. 

City officials says since the city owns its own utilities, they have lost water revenue from the absence of buildings.

"That's something they did contribute to the town paying utilities and that's revenue we're not getting now," said Gary Graham, Quapaw Police Chief.

Around 30 damaged and destroyed structures are without water. Staff are unsure of how much the lack of revenue is costing the city. 

"For a town of 906, that's a huge hit," said Daniels.

The city is also left without a bank. Now residents and business owners have to drive more than five miles to do their banking.

"We all use that as a local bank, as far as, the school uses the bank, the fire department. I'm sure several of the other businesses here in town probably use the bank too," said Daniels. 

Plus the town is noticing people moving out. Daniels says she knows of at least three families that have already left the city and aren't coming back.

"We're hoping people stay and rebuild and stay in Quapaw, and we're hoping that we attract some businesses because there are plenty of open lots now," she said.

Residents are concerned it will be difficult to attract new businesses.
 
"If people are deciding to leave the community, it will be difficult also to hire staff if there's not enough people in the town to employ. Businesses won't want to come to our community," said Jeana Barley, Higher Call Nursing Center Administrator.

"It could be to where it could make a lot of businesses here or it could shut everything down, so hopefully we can get everything rebuilt fast enough to where businesses want to come here," said Roy Bush, Works in Quapaw.

Quapaw Police Chief Gary Graham believes the town is on its way to a full recovery.

"We were hurting for businesses even before the tornado, so it does make it a little bit harder. But there are some possibilities out there that we hope will play out and follow through. I'm optimistic that things will get better and may be even better then it was before," said Chief Graham. 

The city is sending letters out to several companies, hoping to bring in more businesses. They are also in talks with different banks to bring in an ATM. Quapaw still has more cleaning up to do before they get to the rebuilding stage.

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