A milestone of sorts was reached Tuesday morning when a construction crew replaced the steeple atop the Maryville First Presbyterian Church at 211 South Main Street.
Bolting the refurbished steeple back in place was one of the last major chores left following a brutal hail and wind storm that ripped through Nodaway County 18 months ago on Aug. 18, 2011.
But though the steeple has been refurbished with a new metal skin, at least one storm-related construction project remains — rebuilding the city's water/sewer maintenance building on the north end of town.
A large portion of the wood-framed metal structure was literally blown to bits in the storm, which did millions of dollars of damage to crops, vehicles and buildings countywide.
The city of Maryville has awarded Jeff Smith Contracting Co. of Maryville the contract for rebuilding the maintenance facility, which is to be completed this summer at a cost of $320,000, most of which will be covered by insurance.
As for the church steeple, it was the last chore associated with a $70,000 roof replacement made necessary by the two-hour blast of severe weather.
Coming up with the money, even with insurance and some cash bequeathed by an estate, was tough for the small congregation of about 100 worshippers. But the Rev. Jonathan Mitchell said First Presbyterian was able to turn a negative into a positive by determining to raise an additional $7,000 — the biblical tithe of 10 percent — which was used to help build a mission church in Thwake Village, Kenya.
After the storm, one city official estimated that 80 percent of the homes in Maryville sustained at least some damage. Insurance companies lined South Main Street with crisis response trailers in order to settle claims, and local body shops stayed busy for months replacing hoods and popping dents.
The storm's most devastating impact was on crops, with the hail slicing through millions of dollars worth of corn and soybeans just as local farmers were anticipating a bumper harvest.
South District Nodaway County Commissioner Bob Stiens said a few days after the storm that there was at least some crop loss on 75 percent of the county's cultivated land, which comprises well over a quarter-million acres.