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Greensburg Goes To China

Eco-partnership with Sister City Mianzhu, China

December 2008

antiquesBuilt in 1915 the S.D. Robinett Building was the only surviving building on Main Street. The Goodmans purchased the Robinett building after losing their antique store of eight years in the tornado. Presently their business is temporarily located 27 miles away in Kensley, Ks. They are renovating as energy efficient as possible with two floors to heat and cool, up stairs for their apartment, down stairs the store. All the while preserving the last remaining land-mark of Main Street. Old pictures of the building and Main Street are found.

The kids of the Green Club went tornado debris hunting to make a sculpture for the community and before the hunt is done, they decide on making it a bench. A sculpture the community can “use”.

Pastor T.J. & Julie Lawson of the First Christian Church came to Greensburg after the storm. The church will have separate climate controls so the front part can be cooled/heated during the week and the sanctuary only on weekends or as needed. Spray foam insulation and triple pane windows which will not only keep down utility cost but noise level as well.

The U.S. Treasury Dept. called Steve Hewitt about a city in China that wants to partner with Greensburg in building green. In May 2008, the Sichuan Province of China was ravaged by a major earthquake that killed tens of thousands and utterly destroyed communities. Greensburg’s mayor (Bob Dixson), school superintendent (Darin Headrick), Steve Kirk (president of the County Chamber of Commerce), and Steve (the city administrator), were invited to go to for a week tour of the destruction area and discuss an “eco-partnership” with Mianzhu, China.

The Business Incubator is coming along. J. David Spoon contractor with Compton Construction Corp. explains the days installation of the cistern for the water capture/recycling system. Trent McDaniel and crew from Natural Energy is installing solar panels on the roof.

Marion & Ella Mae Marrs, an older couple that was totally devastated by the tornado, emotionally and otherwise, didn’t think they could ever rebuild. Now, seventeen months later, they have nearly completed their beautiful new home. Which is good because no matter how Marion tried to convince his wife to leave, this was where Ella Mae’s roots were and she wasn’t budging.

To get back a little normalcy, Janice Hany tells about reorganizing the Home Tour a Greensburg tradition which opens up their Christmas decorated homes for the community to come in and visit.

courthouseGreensburg is the county seat of Kiowa County, Kansas. Gene West the County Commissioner checks on the work at the court house. Along with the old Robinette, it was the only other building in town that survived the storm. It had damage to the roof caused by a Pontiac Bonneville blown from the police impound lot, causing all the water damage on the inside. Which meant the building had to be gutted. The new windows are solar efficient windows and spray on insulation in the ceiling and walls which before had no insulation at all. With geothermal heating and cooling installed it is on schedule to be completed by May.

With no grocery store left in town, the residents have to travel 31 miles to Pratt, not pleasant on slick icy roads.

earthquakeThe delegation arrives in China. Mianzhu is right on the fault line, with a population of 60,000 of which 4,500 were killed, over 6,000 injured, 500 of those who lost their lives were children. Unbelievable destruction and amidst the ruins stands a clock tower, the clock is stopped at 2:28, the exact time of the quake.

greensburg-china-fema-housingThey tour the temporary government housing, China’s version of FEMAville, free for the 40,000 displaced residents for three years plus a housing allowance, but with drawbacks like communal kitchens and bathrooms.

Before heading back they take in the sites such as panda bears, the Great Wall, and the Forbidden City. Then there is the Partnership signing. The Vice Premier of China and U.S. Treasury Secretary Paulsen are the first to sign and give a few words. Next Mayor Dixson and Deputy Mayor of Mianzhu are invited to sign a document that states the implementation of the eco-partnership between Greensburg, Kansas and Mianzhu, China. Then a long trip back home.

Time for the Christmas Parade. Better than last year, this time they have street lights, 250 homes are rebuilt, and much more people have come home. Hopes are high for 2009.

See ya next week for the next episode.

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20 Responses to “Greensburg Goes To China”

  1. Says:

    Greensburg Goes To China | Forced Green…

    latest episode of Greensburg, Kansas’ efforts of rebuilding their town green!…

  2. wilson Says:

    Both of the cities, Greensburg and Mianzhu were being violated by the natural disasters. It goods to know that they’re co-operate in helping in each other. I’m sure they’ll be a good partnership, Linda!

    wilsons last blog post..Just Put Your Vegetables and Fruits Straight Into The Refrigerator!

  3. Heath Says:

    Thanks as always. I was back in town for the weekend and they had a rodeo parade. The high school green club was walking in the parade. One of the kids was throwing out cans and another behind was picking them up to recycle. Then one was carrying an umbrella and one was dumping water on the umbrella while one was catching the water to reuse.

    And the partnership is one of seven between the US and China. Go to to see more about those. Really cool on several different fronts. (and ironically, started by the Bush administration)

  4. cady Says:

    rebuilding as a green town is such a great idea, and i think the partnership with mianzhu could be a good idea.

  5. spygrrl Says:

    Thank you for reminding me how awesome it is to be alive during this time.

  6. Linda Says:

    Hi Wilson … I am sure too! Disasters bring together the human spirit and willpower to press on!

  7. Linda Says:

    Hi Heath … Those Green club kids are a hoot! They certainly have a great imagination. I am off to check out the site you have mentioned.

  8. Linda Says:

    Hi cady … They will certainly help each other on how to recover from their respective disasters.

  9. Solo Ad Explosion Says:

    WOW! Another great story. I love the updates.

    Solo Ad Explosions last blog post..The Keys to Budget-Based Lead Generation

  10. IM Product Niches Says:

    It is sure nice to see the progress of Greensburg! I am sure that they are proud of their efforts!

    IM Product Nichess last blog post..FREE Webmasters Resource Kit

  11. corrin Says:

    I love when they restore old buildings like that. I know that most times it isn’t the most economical thing to do, but it really does have a much bigger impact.

    corrins last blog post..The Luckiest

  12. Karen Says:

    That is a wonderful partnership. I am glad they aren’t just building new and throwing the old away.

  13. Linda Says:

    Hi Solo … glad you are enjoying the updates. There are more to come!

    Hi Im Product Niches …. I know that most of them are just happy to be out of Femaville and in their own places!

    Hi Corrin … Especially if it survives a tornado! These folks will have double use out of it by the time they are done. Excellent for them!

  14. Linda Says:

    Hi Karen … I believe it will be beneficial to both!

  15. Diane Scott Says:

    Linda you continue to amaze me with the way you keep up with every little detail! And that is so cool to have a sister city in China willing to go the green route, too! Thanks, great post!

    Diane Scotts last blog post..Think Last Place Is A Bad Spot To Be In Think Again

  16. Linda Says:

    Hi Diane … I think it is cool that they have been working together muchless going green together.

  17. Christina thecoffeelady Says:

    It is always wonderful to hear about building green. I am sorry these communities had to bare these hardships. But at least the rebuilding is being done!

    Christina thecoffeeladys last blog post..The GMO Bandwagon is in Town!

  18. Linda Says:

    Hi Christina … And rebuilding they are!

  19. Moonshadow Says:

    Your undate is a little dated. Greensburg has a new Dillons store that was opened the first part of Februry. To see all the wonderful things going on in Greensburg visit…

    Moonshadows last blog post..Exciting Night

  20. Linda Says:

    Hi Moonshadow … Yes, I know however, I am updating for those who do not have the Planet Green channel. Thanks for the additional information.

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