Tornado 2019 Damage Costs

2019 Tornado SUNAThe tornado that hit the southwest portion of the City of Urbana on May 26, 2019 devastated two residential areas in the form of neighborhood trees, personal property, and the neighborhood park.

According to a memorandum submitted to Mayor Diane Wolf Marlin from Urbana City Arborist and Supervisor, Kevin Sanderson, and Urbana Public Works Deputy Director of Operations, Vince Gustafson, the total clean-up cost was $131,259.66. This number includes both City and private debris clean-up.

An estimated 755 residence properties were affected by the storm. The City lost a total of 64 trees in these areas with an additional 89 trees in need of major pruning and clean-up. A total of 46 tree sites still remain scheduled for pruning repair of affected trees. Although most of the work is listed and recorded, there may be additional hours needed for the total clean-up as the need arises.

“The F-1 tornado touched down in my own backyard, so I understand what my neighbors in south Urbana faced on that Sunday morning. We woke up to an overwhelming amount of damage to our largest trees, fences, and roofs. I’m proud of the efficiency with which Urbana Public Works, Police, and Fire mobilized to patrol the neighborhoods, assess damage, and haul away storm debris. And I am proud of the way neighbors helped neighbors recover from the storm. We also are grateful for the assistance in storm debris pick-up from the University of Illinois Facilities and Services Division and the Urbana Park District,” Marlin said.

A total of $131,259.66 was spent on the clean-up process.  Another $14,335.00 will be what it takes to replace the tree sites.

“Providing assistance in this type of disaster recovery is a core responsibility of Urbana Public Works. I am truly proud of the extraordinary effort made by the employees that helped restore public safety and a sense of normalcy to the community,” Gustafson said.

“Now we are faced with replacing the damaged and destroyed trees in order to maintain our urban forest. We had made excellent progress addressing the tree-planting backlog following losses due to the Emerald Ash Borer; the tornado has set us back. Community members who wish to donate toward the tree-planting effort can do so by partnering with the City of Urbana Cooperative Tree Planting Program.* Tree purchase and planting labor costs total approximately $250 per tree, which the residents pay half of the amount, which is $125,” Mayor Marlin said.

Additionally, the Urbana Park District reported damage to Larson Park, which is located in the southwest portion of the City of Urbana. A total of seven trees were either badly damaged or completely uprooted. According to UPD Executive Director, Timothy Bartlett, a total of 140 labor hours were spent on tree removal and clean-up. Another 24 labor hours were spent grinding and backfilling stumps. The total cost is $2,404.00 for this effort.

*Partnering with the City of Urbana in the Cooperative Tree Planting Program by completing these steps: For individuals:

1. Download the Application Form from our website at and complete it

2. Mail the form and your one-time payment of $125 per tree-half of the total $250 cost, payable to the City of Urbana, to Urbana Public Works, Arbor Division at 706 S. Glover Street, Urbana IL 61802

3. Agree to water and care for the new tree planted near your home, according to the City-established guidelines

On the Application Form, you can indicate: 1) a preference from the list of City Selection trees; 2) a Heritage Community tree; 3) a Native Illinois tree; or 4) for the City Arborist to choose the best selection.

In all cases, the City’s Public Works Arbor Division will determine the specific planting location and contact all utility agencies before planting trees.

Trees are planted between March and June each year, depending on weather. For organizations Are you involved with a neighborhood association, service organization, business or church? Contact Kevin Sanderson, the City Arborist, at to explore ideas like these for replanting Urbana: employer/employee matching program, partnership with other organizations, and combining efforts with other individuals. Go here for more.  

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Last modified:Thursday, October 24, 2019 - 11:43
- Author: BridgetB