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One Year Later: IC Businesses Rebuilding

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IOWA CITY - Last April's tornadoes damaged hundreds of Iowa City homes and businesses. Those businesses are in different stages of repair one year later. Some businesses have minor damage, like McDonald's on Riverside Drive. One side of the marquee tells the tornado's story without any words.

In other parts of town developers are making plans for the future. But it could be awhile before empty plots of land have buildings on them again.

Meanwhile, Chezik-Bell Honda had some damage, but the owners are purposely waiting to repair. A business deal means Hondas will be sold on the other side of Highway One.

Chezik-Bell General Sales Manager Eric Davenport said, "Actually physically move the Honda dealership to the location of the Ford dealership and the Ford dealership will then move to the Honda location. At that point we will upgrade this location to be a state of the art Ford Lincoln Mercury franchise."

While some businesses take time to decide, one store had to be ready for its busy season. The Dairy Queen is back in business. Look at the DQ and you would never know a tornado ravaged it 12 months ago. That is thanks in large part to the old-time neon sign sitting on top of the business.

Dairy Queen Manager Nicole Peters said, "It's like the star on top of the Christmas tree. It's what we are. We're dairy queen."

The line of people waiting for ice cream on a cold April evening is proof this business is back.

The Iowa City city council actually rewrote the law so Dairy Queen could have the sign sitting on top of the building.

E-mail Steve Nicoles at

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