Grants coming for tornado shelters

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 23, 2003

[10/21/03]Under a grant program, Warren County homeowners who want to create tornado shelters may be eligible for financial help thanks to a federal disaster declaration.

Grants worth up to $2,675 for shelters in single-family homes and $3,750 for those to be used by more people may be available for disbursement early next year, L.W. Callaway told supervisors Monday. Callaway is director of the Warren County Emergency Operations Office.

The money is being made available for the program in a 40-county area that includes Warren, Issaquena and Claiborne. Under a grant designed to encourage construction of reinforced shelters, rare in Mississippi, 75 percent of individual shelters costing up to $3,500 and each community shelter costing up to $5,000 would be eligible, a Mississippi Emergency Management Agency release said.

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The area was hit by heavy rains in early April, causing flooding and mudslides but no injuries or deaths in Warren County, Callaway said. Homes that were structurally damaged will receive priority in the distribution of the $1.1 million fund, but some grant money will will likely remain available for existing or under-construction homes that were not damaged, he added.

“In areas where they do have them, they save lives,” Callaway said of the shelters.

Safe rooms are normally approximately closet-sized spaces inside homes while storm shelters are often built outside homes, underground, he said. The most cost-effective way to build such shelters is in new homes but rooms in existing homes may be reinforced to meet the required federal specifications, he added.

“I would strongly recommend anybody who is interested to make application,” Callaway said. The deadline to apply is Nov. 18, he said. Applicants would be informed later this year of whether they would receive the money. Construction would be expected to take place before July, Callaway added.

Issaquena County residents who want more information on grant opportunities may call emergency management director Robert T. Williams or deputy director Donna Stewart at 662-873-2761.

Claiborne County residents may call emergency management director Bobbie Young at 601-437-4684.

In other action Monday, the board gave unanimous approval to:

Authorize buildings and grounds manager Chuck Thornton to hire Pamela Austin.

Authorize volunteer firefighter coordinator Kelly Worthy to apply for a $50,000 grant to seek a firetruck.

Authorize consultant Chris Gouras to execute a $500 contract-change order for a sign at a sewer-expansion project at the Ceres Industrial park at Flowers.

Accept a monthly report on the amount of fines assessed and collected from district attorney’s victim assistance coordinator Georgia Lynn.

Accept a $750 donation from Wal-Mart for crime-prevention efforts led by the office of Sheriff Martin Pace.

Authorize road manager Rhea Fuller to promote Tommy Snow to replace Ernest Pitts and hire Robert Robertson.

Set new Kings Point Ferry hours, effective Oct. 26 until February, of 4:30 a.m. until 8 p.m.

Authorize county engineer John McKee to publish a legal notice on a final settlement for the road leading to the new National Guard Armory at Flowers.

Approve application for a Community Development Block Grant.

Adjourn until 9 a.m. Nov. 3.