Almost three months after tornadoes tore through eastern Raleigh, about 1,000 residential and commercial buildings still need to be repaired - damage that amounts to about $115 million,
"Right now, we're about one-fourth, maybe one-third of the way done," Mayor Charles Meeker said Tuesday. "There is still a lot of work to be done."
So the Raleigh City Council on Tuesday approved three measures aimed at continuing the relief effort - including making way for a fundraising festival and helping residents remove trees from streams.
Here's a rundown:
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Another festival: The council gave permission for a road closure to accommodate the Come UnityNow street festival.
The festival, to take place July 30 at City Plaza on Fayetteville Street, would be the second major tornado-relief fundraiser attempt downtown.
The first effort, "Rise Up Raleigh," a city-sponsored benefit concert, fell short of its goal to raise $100,000 last month. The free show raised $21,329 in donations and $25,000 in corporate pledges.
Councilwoman Mary-Ann Baldwin, who spearheaded "Rise Up Raleigh" said theComeUnityNow street festival could do a better job of raising money, in part because its scope will be bigger - and because it is charging $10 for admission.
"It's a great idea, and I've met with the group and it seems like they have a lot of energy," Baldwin said.
The event will feature an arts and a music festival and is being planned by volunteers.
Proceeds from ticket sales, which begin July 15, will be donated to two Raleigh nonprofit organizations - the Wake Interfaith Disaster Team and The Green Chair Project.
These groups assist tornado victims as they transition from immediate relief to long-term recovery.
Money from citizen groups: The council also voted unanimously to reallocate more than half of the $58,000 in leftover Raleigh Citizens Advisory Council funds to tornado relief efforts.
About $37,000 will be donated evenly across the four relief charities that received money from Rise Up Raleigh. They include Centro International de Raleigh, Inter-Faith Food Shuttle, Helping Hand Mission and The SalvationArmy of Raleigh.
The vote was in response to a proposal that was initially rejected.
In June, all 18 CAC leaders voted to give unspent money to relief efforts. But the chairmen didn't have the authority to redirect the funds.
"Normally unspent funds are rolled over to the next fiscal year," Meeker said. "So, this was an unusual request, but we face an unusual situation."
The earliest the four charities could see the money would be July 19, said Kristen Roselli, the city's director of community services.
Debris removal: The council also unanimously approved a proposal to remove tree debris from streams on private properties in Southeast Raleigh.
About 1,436 damaged trees still need to be removed from water on 234 properties, according to the city. About 135 of those properties are single-family homes or duplexes.
The city is worried that the trees will create flooding problems.
The council decided Tuesday to use a private contractor to remove the trees.
"There really is a lot of vegetative debris where the storm hit, and if you don't address it, then it can cause problems," City Manager Russell Allen said.
The program will cost approximately $785,000, Allen said, and will be paid for by revenue from property owners' stormwater utility fee. The program is expected to begin by early fall and would last for six months.