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Gaylord rebuilding efforts at ‘halfway mark’ as shopping center construction begins

Rebuilding efforts continue in Gaylord more than a year after a deadly tornado swept through the city, destroying homes and businesses.

Construction is set to begin at the Pine Ridge Square Shopping Center off M-32 in Gaylord on Friday. The director of construction for Pine Ridge Square, Paul Deschepper, said they’ve spent the past year working on the project.

Deschepper said last year’s tornado has made for a lot of work as they look to resurrect the former Hobby Lobby and bring new features to the shopping center.


“Hobby Lobby is our main focus that we’re going to start off with, and we just signed a lease with Five Below that’s going to go next door,” Deschepper explained.

Along with the addition of Five Below, they say Hobby Lobby will grow by 10,000 square feet, and they also have plans to add a restaurant with outdoor seating.

Erin Mann, the disaster recovery coordinator for the Gaylord Longterm Recovery Group, says a lot has been done, but much more needs to be accomplished. She says although there’s been progress in the commercial areas, there are a lot of people still struggling to get back on their feet.

“We’ve gotten a lot of people to where they were before, but we still have a handful of families that need help,” Mann admitted.


Mann says we’re still just at the halfway point of recovery efforts but says she’s glad to at least see some things looking how they did before the tornado.

“I think people don’t realize long term recovery really means long term. We’re expecting this to be all buttoned up not until next year -- that two-year mark,” Mann said. “I mean a lot of amazing work was done in that first year, but we still have some work to do.”

They hope to have construction completed by late fall.

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