TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WALA) - Signs of progress can be seen throughout the City of Tuscaloosa.
Neighborhoods flattened by the April 27 tornados have begun to regroup, however many lots still remain empty.
Mayor Walt Maddox told FOX10 nearly all the debris has since been removed.
Meanwhile, construction crews continue working Friday on the anniversary of the deadly storm that claimed the lives of 53 people.
"One of the things we take very seriously in Tuscaloosa is that we want to make sure their sacrifice was not in vain," said Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox. "That their sacrifice meant something and building back is one of the ways to make sure it's something positive for the future."
April 27, 2011 at 5:13pm , an EF-4 tornado left a six-mile track of destruction through the city.
The mile-wide tornado took the lives of 53 citizens and destroyed a large part of the community in less than six minutes.
"The scars of this tornado in the next five to 10 years will vanish, but all of us who were here April 27th are going to remember that day," said Maddox.
As The rebuilding process gets underway, the city is helping local businesses get back on their feet.
Such is the case of Brian Ahmed, who owns Full Moon BBQ.
""I mean it's a miracle, for me at least. You know, I just think it's amazing that we're at this point so soon, that we're actually having a building like this," said Ahmed.
Last year, his restaurant took a direct from the twister.
He said he lost nearly everything.
"When the storm was hitting, I was on the bridge looking down at the tornado hitting the store," he remembered. "We had about 13 employees in the store. Thank god they're all alive and no one was hurt, but they were pulled underneath the rubble."
He said the months that followed were extremely difficult.
With help from the city, which donated some land, Ahmed said he was able to start construction on his restaurant in February.
It is located directly across the street where his old business once stood and is expected to re-open mid-July.
He said he has seen other businesses like a Krispy Kreme which recently re-opened have the same experience.
Maddox said it's that kind of partnership that will help Tuscaloosa bounce back.
The Annual Fairhope Christmas Parade was held Friday night and the warm weather did not stop the atmosphere from feeling like Christmas.
Prichard Police have launched several new initiatives in the wake of 3 bold business break-ins along Wilson Avenue this week.
Federal authorities say an Alabama man has been charged in a slaying at an Army post in southeast Georgia, but officials are releasing few details about the case.
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