It is pos­si­ble that many will fail to see any pos­i­tive side to the recent tragedy which has befall­en com­mu­ni­ties in Kentucky — Mayfield and others.

And per­haps the old cliché about ‘every cloud has a sil­ver lin­ing’ is just a bit too much to stom­ach, espe­cial­ly by those who have suf­fered – and will con­tin­ue to suf­fer for the fore­see­able future. 

So much devastation. 

But amid all the loss, there will come some salu­tary effects.

It’s true that Mayfield, Bowling Green, Dawson Springs will be changed, and oth­er com­mu­ni­ties in Kentucky have not been spared this year.  Carlisle and Beattyville have cer­tain­ly suf­fered their share of hard­ships because of unprece­dent­ed weath­er phenomena. 

Mayfield will nev­er be the same town it was before December 11th.

However, in some respects, the res­i­dents of that town will be bet­ter off as things return to some sem­blance of nor­mal­cy.  Rebuilding will begin once all the detri­tus of the storms has been removed and many of the homes and pub­lic build­ings and busi­ness­es that will be rebuilt will be far bet­ter than they ever were.

A great oppor­tu­ni­ty exists to ren­o­vate the over­head pow­er and com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines, per­haps plac­ing them under­ground where they will be less sus­cep­ti­ble to recur­ring weath­er dis­as­ters.  And the lack of pow­er poles along the streets would be a wel­come addi­tion to the landscape.

While the his­tor­i­cal nature of some of the build­ings will not be regained, at the least there will be some records of what exist­ed there before and the mem­o­ries of them will endure until the last of the present gen­er­a­tion has passed.

New build­ings will reflect today, although some may be recon­struct­ed to try to match what exist­ed before.  While their appear­ance may mim­ic the past, the meth­ods of build­ing them will encom­pass the best of the meth­ods avail­able today.

There is prob­a­bly lit­tle ques­tion that some of the struc­tures exist­ing before that dread­ful Saturday were sub­stan­dard, prob­a­bly due or await­ing ren­o­va­tion.  Those will come back better.

Newly con­struct­ed build­ings will have to meet cur­rent build­ing codes and that means bet­ter heat­ing sys­tems, safer elec­tri­cal sys­tems, bet­ter insu­la­tion, all designed to reduce ener­gy requirements.

Mayfield’s city hall, vir­tu­al­ly total­ly destroyed by the tor­na­do can be replaced.  Even if the com­mu­ni­ty decides to repli­cate its pre­vi­ous appear­ance, changes can be incor­po­rat­ed to make the build­ing more appro­pri­ate for the con­tem­po­rary run­ning of the local gov­ern­ment as there were no doubt defi­cien­cies in the old­er building.

Countless com­mu­ni­ties, even civ­i­liza­tions, have suc­cess­ful­ly rebuilt in the past fol­low­ing either nat­ur­al or man­made dis­as­ters.  Mayfield and Bowling Green and Dawson Springs will as well.

  • Chuck Witt

    Chuck is a retired archi­tect, a for­mer news­pa­per colum­nist, and a life­long res­i­dent of Winchester.