Workers of Civicon, LLC wasted no time on demolition, knocking three buildings to the ground in less than 30 minutes. The Tallulah Hotel and portions of the old Piggly Wiggly fell shortly after lunch.
Dozens of people turned out to watch the start of demolition, including a group of 3- and 4-year-olds from Cordova First Baptist preschool.
“They’re going to take all those buildings down and we’re going to get a new town,” director Jenny Wilson told the children.
Mayor Drew Gilbert allowed City Hall to be closed for a time Tuesday morning to allow employees an opportunity to be present for the historic moment.
Main Street holds many memories for city clerk Leanne Dawkins, who worked alongside her mother Elaine Stewart for 22 years in the old City Hall and watched her daughter Danielle lead homecoming parades through town as a cheerleader.
Dawkins said as much as she hated to see downtown go, the main thing she felt on Tuesday was joy.
“It is a sad day for everybody who just reflects on the memories, but I’m looking to the future. We have a mayor and council, committees and so many other people who are working to move Cordova forward. This is a big step in that direction,” Dawkins said.
Steve Ostaseski, the city’s long term recovery manager, said roads around the site will remain open throughout the project.
Traffic in the area will increase Monday, when the first loads of debris are expected to be hauled away.
The contractor has 60 days to complete the job. The only work stoppages will be on Sundays and for Bo Bikes Bama on Saturday, the second anniversary of the tornado outbreak.