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Greenburg Episode 6 – “Mini Greenbuild”

Studio 804 arrives at the defunct Sunflower Army Ammunition Plant, 285 miles from
Greensburg, to dismantle one of the abandoned buildings and reuse the structural
wood and materials for the skin of the new Arts Center. They stage the new building
construction in a warehouse in Lawrence.

January 9,2008, Stacy Barnes, President of the Arts Center Board, holds the first
meeting of the board, now renamed the 5.4.7 Arts Center, the date of the tornado.
Her mother and father have purchased some land for the Arts Center and will donate
it at the appropriate time. She tells the board that Studio 804 has offered to
build, to LEEDs Platinum standard, the new building with a completion date of May
4th. “Of this year?” “Of this year.” Stunned laughter fills the air. Then Stacy
tells them the estimated price to purchase the building from studio 804 will be
between $125,000 to $150,000, payable on the completion date. No more smiles.

While he and his staff juggle 30 million dollar worth of projects, and funding
gaps, Steve Hewitt talks about how the town is starting to understand that people
are helping not because they had a tornado, that happens to communities all the
time, but because they are committed to building back smarter, stronger, and totally
green. Although some people still don’t understand and can only see cost and the
possibility of tax hikes. He explains that the incubator won’t cost one tax dollar
even with it’s remaining $700,000 funding gap. His secret weapon in this fight
is John Picard, the sustainability expert. John suggest having a mini Greenbuild,
like the big convention in Chicago they attended. Bring in some corporate partners,
educate the community, and to show the world what Greensburg is doing.

In Mullinville, Kansas, 10 miles west of Greensburg, Scott Eller works in his
temporary welding shop. A friend cleared half of his work shop out so Scott could
keep working. He and his wife Jill had a $75,000 home with a swimming pool and his
welding shop, all wiped out by the tornado. He wants to rebuild his shop back in

Temporarily living in Kensley, Ks., Erica Goodman and her husband have lived in
Greensburg for 7 years. She ran Fran’s Antique Mall in town. They owned 5 properties
in Greensburg, the Old Church building, 2 buildings on Main Street, their home,
and another house they had just purchased to renovate. All destroyed. Their first
thought was to rebuild their home near the lake where they own 4 lots. But the
Ellers have bought 4 lots directly behind them and plans to rebuild the welding
shop there. Erica says the Master Plan shows the location as a residential area.

Planning Commission Meeting –  Scott gives the details of the construction of the
welding shop adding he could not rebuild in the original location because it had
been built on rail road property. The Ellers bought a half a block of what he
understood to be the industrial section of town, only to find out after the Master
Plan came out that the property had been left in the residential zone. Then Erica
speaks (directly to the Ellers), about losing her repairable home to the new
highway, her Main Street business to the incubator, and now it was “punch in the
gut again” to hear they wanted to build the welding shop up there. Another man in
the back of the room said he owned land up there and ask the board to allow the
Ellers to build their shop. The board votes to rezone that half a block as
commercial and now the Ellers can build their shop.

Three of the Studio 804 group come out and attempt to take measurements of the
property for the Art Center.

The Kids drop by Steve’s office to hear about his Washington D.C. visit and
discuss the upcoming Mini Greenbuild on Feb. 6th. Steve tells them John Picard
has gotten 3 or 4 different companies that want to come see what they are doing.
Which could mean some funding for the town. Taylor tells Steve that the Kids have
got the Green Club going and wandered if they could get a slot of time to debut
the the Green Cub and its new web site. Steve immediately pencils them in.

Conner Staats (one of the Kids), and her parents happily move out of FEMAville
and into their new home.

At the high school the Green Club has a meeting to discuss what they will each
say during the Mini Greenbuild presentation. Eric, Taylor, Connor, and Alexsis,
all have a prepared statement. Except Levi who sees no problem in just winging
it. But he clearly understood the problem when the girls got through nailing him
to the wall and decides to jot the Club’s Mission Statement down.

The Greensburg High School holds their winter Homecoming game (basketball) in
Mullinville, Ks. Since Eric is a senior, this will be his last homecoming game.
He’s a little sad it couldn’t be in Greensburg. Sara McVeigh and Lane Allison are
the winter homecoming king and queen.

The same three people from Studio 804 attend the Arts Center board meeting. They
proceed to tell the board the importance of having the building completed by May
4th due to it being the anniversary of the storm. Funny, just last episode they
kept saying they were all graduating that day. Oh yeah, and by the way, because
of the elaborate systems solar, wind, and geothermal, the cost is going up to say,
around $200,000 to $250,000. All due by May. Twice the original cost. At this
time the program cuts to the board approving it. Irritating, I would give five
dollars to have seen what was left on the cutting room floor!

The Mini Greenbuild conference starts. Steve speaks, the Kids speak, all did a
great job. Stephen Hardy from BNIM the city planners gives a presentation on the
plans and showed animations on how it would all come together. Then John Picard
acknowledged the people who flew in with him and came as a group without naming
them or the corporations they represented, (some legal reason). He ended by
calling Steve a hero for all his efforts. Then one of the VIPs called Steve up
and told him (without naming who) a major corporation was filling the $700,000
incubator gap. It was a good night.

The next morning a casually dressed Gannon Jones V.P. of Marketing for Sun Chips
(Frito Lay), unobtrusively walks into Steve’s office and solved the case of the
mystery donor. It is now known as Sun Chips Business Incubator.

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5 Responses to “Greenburg Episode 6 – “Mini Greenbuild””

  1. Heath Says:

    I don’t know what all was said in the art council meetings, but I know mom wasn’t very happy with KU.

    what got me, these KU students are going to come and show these country bumpkins how to “really go green” but they can’t even manage to measure a property with out making a mess.

    And they’ve been doing these buildings for over decade, but underestimate the cost by $150k.

  2. Linda Says:

    Hi Heath … Welcome back! Yes, I had a problem with how they handled themselves throughout the series so far. I am sure there was more than was shown and believe me, I would of kicked them to the curb!

  3. Simmons Says:


    Awesome site – I’ve added you to my blogroll. I’d really appreciate it if you linked back. Thanks!

  4. Barbara Says:

    Hi Linda,

    Great job you are doing on the Greensburg episodes! Well, all your articles are great.

    Barbaras last blog post..The Savage Outrage

  5. Linda Says:

    Hi Barbara … Thanks for the compliments. Appreciate it.

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