Naperville councilwoman calls for city to create natural disaster plan

  • Hundreds of homes were damaged during a tornado that struck Naperville in June 2021.

      Hundreds of homes were damaged during a tornado that struck Naperville in June 2021. Paul Valade | Staff Photographer

Updated 5/9/2023 5:01 PM

Naperville Councilwoman Jennifer Bruzan Taylor is calling on the city to create short- and long-term natural disaster plans to be better prepared for significant weather events such as the devastating 2021 tornado.

Bruzan Taylor made the request last week as a response to residents who continue to be affected nearly two years after the EF-3 tornado in June 2021. The storm, which reached peak winds of 140 mph, injured 11 people, destroyed one house and damaged hundreds of others in an area just south of 75th Street.


"At that time, we did some things right but learned since that time that there was much that we could improve on," Bruzan Taylor said. "Especially (with our) long-term response and how to ensure that we keep private donation funds here in Naperville."

The other Naperville City Council members supported Bruzan Taylor's request for the city staff to begin developing natural disaster plans.

Naperville officials were praised in the initial aftermath of the tornado while restoring power and clearing streets of debris. But several residents have criticized the city's long-term support and capacity for accepting and distributing donations.

To correct those issues in the future, Bruzan Taylor suggested forming a working group featuring members of the city's fire department and emergency management team.

While short-term solutions would include help with the immediate financial needs of residents, long-term issues such as property restoration also would be part of the plan.

Kristy Kennedy, co-founder of the Naperville Tornado Relief group, welcomed the city council's decision. Kennedy, co-founder Kelly Dougherty and their nonprofit partner, the M.P. Foundation, recently secured $1.5 million from the city and state to assist with yard replacements for homeowners hardest hit by the 2021 tornado.

"There was no state aid and no federal aid, so you need a local response," Kennedy said. "Every community should be looking at this. If you don't have a plan, you just can't help people."

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