Cedar Rapids city photo of tree clean up following the derecho.

Residents and city officials gathered in Cedar Rapids today one year after the devastating derecho that destroyed homes and businesses and knocked out 65 percent of the city’s tree canopy.

Mayor Brad Hart spoke at a ceremony in Bever Park. “It’s really that spirit of resilience and perseverance and kindness that we’re here today to celebrate,” Hart said. “The storm was horrific and we need to understand the damage it did. But we need to celebrate this community and how many people stood up and continue to stand up to help others.”

City Manager Jeff Pomeranz acknowledged there is still work to be done. “It’s not that we’re slow. But the amount of damage was devastating. And the number of contractors to do the work and volunteers and individuals was certainly limited after the event,” Pomeranz says. ” Nonetheless we’re making progress and we’re coming back strong.”

One year after the storm hit — service providers say some residents are still living in unsafe conditions. The high cost of repairs and a shortage of contractors have delayed rebuilding efforts.

(By Kate Payne, Iowa Public Radio)