WASHINGTON — In the aftermath of the Nov. 17 tornado, Washington street signs were upended and tossed in every direction while some city infrastructure sustained heavy damage.
Piecemeal efforts on repairs were needed immediately for the street signs, and the Peoria Public Works Department rushed to Washington's aid. The department houses a shop that makes its own signs for Peoria streets. When Peoria's public works trucks couldn't locate the right streets in Washington to clear debris, a way to provide assistance was identified.
"We'd been in conversation with Washington on how to help," said Peoria city engineer Scott Reeise. "It was hard for our crews to know where to go without street signs. We thought it would be more efficient for our guys to know where they were going."
Washington city officials did not respond to multiple phone calls this week to comment on this story.
According to Reeise, Washington crews did an inventory on which street signs were down or missing. Once that list was compiled, it was shipped over to Peoria Public Works for the new signs to be constructed. Peoria also ordered more than 70 new stop signs for Washington.
Federal Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Deanna Frazier said the agency cannot reimburse the damages to Washington's streets signs or infrastructure unless a declaration for public assistance is made. Currently, the state of Illinois only qualified for individual assistance from FEMA.
Washington city engineer Tim Gleason revealed last week that the city's total damages and losses amounted to about $5.8 million, which would likely mean the state of Illinois would fall short of the $17 million threshold for qualifying for federal public assistance. If the state does fall short, Washington Mayor Gary Manier said an appeal directly to President Barack Obama would be the next step.
Frazier said the state had not submitted the application for federal public assistance as of Friday.
Thomas Bruch can be reached at 686-3188 or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @ThomasBruch.