Auburn students help Cordova rebuild

Much of Cordova is still crippled after the April 27th tornadoes. But Thursday night, the town is taking a leap toward a new life.

It's a daily reminder.

"It's still devastating because there is no progress," Shannon Franks, a Cordova native said.


"Everything was gone," Von Traweek, cafe owner said.

Walls... torn apart.

"If it hadn't been for our little fire department and our police station, it would have been total chaos," Traweek said.

...And a fence blocks everything Shannon Franks- once called home.

"This was such a nice historical, quaint town to live in," she said.

April 27th, 2011 tore Cordova apart, and a fire 6 months later crippled the places they knew so well.

"Everybody in this town is very frustrated and there are so many people moving out of Cordova," Franks said.

Von Traweek owns the only restaurant in town. She says, even a year a three months later, necessities are still hard to come by.

"We are in desperate need of a grocery store," she said. "There are older folks who can't get to Dora, Jasper or anywhere else."

But a few Auburn architecture students are trying to turn things around.

"We've actually worked on a public library, a city hall building, a grocery store or market and a fire station," Josh Emig, Assistant Professor, Auburn University said.

Instead of destruction - the students see a blank canvas.

"I think the biggest thing it will offer is ideas on how to build back and continue the recovery," Emig said.

"We are waiting on FEMA for the demolition of the buildings," Cordova Mayor, Jack{}Scott said.{}"Once we get the demolitions of the buildings done, it's downhill. That opens up these plans right here."

"I would like to see more modern, but I don't want it to lose its small town feel," Traweek said.