By Lora Scripps & Rebecca Croomes
Since grade school Alabamians have learned on severe weather days to be prepared. It’s that same preparedness that pushed the Limestone County Commission and Limestone County Emergency Management Agency to designate sites for new community storm shelters after the April 27, 2011, tornado outbreak.
The county received FEMA federal hazard mitigation funds and could have given grants to individuals to let them build private storm shelters at there homes. However, the money would have allowed only a certain number of people to receive the funds. Instead, the county elected to build community shelters so they could provide safe places for a larger number of residents.
The county signed 30-year leases on the properties to be eligible for the funds.
Rita White, director of the Limestone County EMA, said an architect is presently making drawings for two shelters: one in Elkmont at 19667 Sandlin Road; and another near the river off Cowford Road. The address for the second will be 14024 Grover Drive.
After the drawings are completed, White said construction would begin.
Grants have been received for the building of six additional shelters, White said, but filing paperwork to complete the deal prevented her from saying when construction would begin.
Locations for the future shelters include: Pisgah Community Safe Room at 27712 McKee Road in Toney; Pine Ridge Community Safe Room at 10108 Settle Road in Tanner; Ark of Promise Community Safe Room at 15199 Browns Ferry Road in Athens; Wooley Springs Community Safe Room at 28025 Bethel Road in Elkmont; Ardmore Park Avenue Community Safe Room at 29910 Park Ave. in Ardmore; Owens Volunteer Fire Dept. Station No. 2 at 17210 Glaze Road in Athens.