Construction on storm shelter begins in VerbenaBy Emily Etheredge Published 4:07pm Monday, October 21, 2013
Construction on a new storm shelter in Verbena started Monday morning as a crew worked to clear out trees in the area.
The shelter is one of three new storm shelters in Chilton County to be constructed in the next few months.
Lee Helms with Lee Helms Associates is serving as the project manager for the shelters and said on Monday the shelter in Verbena should be finished in two months.
“Right now we are clearing the area so we can pour the foundation for the shelter,” Helms said.
The shelter or safe room in Verbena will be located at 3885 U.S. Highway 31 next door to the Verbena Fire Department.
Mitch Moore with Lake Mitchell Construction worked on Monday to cut down an oak tree on the property where the safe room will be built.
Helms said several steps have to be completed before the shelter can officially be deemed ready for use including clearing portions of trees 35 feet from the location of the storm shelter and leveling the ground.
“There is a lot that goes into building a foundation,” Helms said. “This land slopes so we couldn’t put a building on top of land that sloped. That requires leveling the land but once we get all of that lined up we should be good to go.”
Helms said one of the major factors in constructing the storm shelter is weather.
“Weather is the only thing that could get in our way,” Helms said. “Otherwise, everything should be completed in the next two months.”
The construction of the storm shelters for the county is based off a 75/25-percent grant match with the state paying 75 percent of the construction and the county paying 25 percent.
Currently, the county has six storm shelters and plans to add 11 more so that each resident in the county is only a 5-minute drive from a shelter.
Earlier this year, the county received word that the that the first three shelters were approved for Gov. Robert Bentley’s Emergency Relief Fund (GERF) that gives money to counties to pay the 25-percent match, allowing the first three shelters to be at no cost to the county.
Locations for the first three shelters will be in Verbena, Isabella and Higgins Ferry Road near Lake Mitchell.
Helms said on Monday the land for the shelter at Higgins Ferry has already been cleared and construction has started on the foundation of the shelter.
“We are moving along and things are looking good right now,” Helms said.