County looks to add 13 more shelters

Published 4:28 pm Monday, July 11, 2011

Chilton County wants to increase its number of community storm shelters from six to 19.

Chilton County EMA Director Bill Collum told the County Commission Monday that now is the time to build storm shelters because FEMA hazard mitigation money in the aftermath of April’s tornadoes is available to build them.

“If you ever want to request more shelters, this is the time to do it,” Collum told the commission.

The county currently has five operating storm shelters, while one near the East Chilton Fire Department is under construction.

Last month, Collum submitted a letter of intent to add three more shelters, with the ultimate goal of having a shelter within a 5-mile drive of all county residents.

“I’d like to see us request one for every fire department that does not have one,” said Commissioner Allen Caton.

Verbena, Cedar Grove and other communities have called asking for shelters, Collum said.

The current shelters and the three that have already been asked for will hold just under 100 people, Collum said.

“The one in Enterprise is already overloaded with 150 people every time,” Collum said, adding that in times of severe weather people there are having to be relocated to a nearby church basement.

After discussing the subject, the commission passed a motion to request shelters be built at the following fire stations: Verbena, Enterprise No. 2, East Chilton No. 2, Gap of the Mountain No. 1, Gap of the Mountain No. 2, Collins Chapel, Union Grove No. 2, North Chilton, West Chilton No. 2, Isabella, Cedar Grove, Fairview and South Chilton.

The county already has shelters at Enterprise No. 1, West Chilton No. 1, Union Grove No. 1, East Chilton No. 1 and in Clanton and Maplesville.

“We’re doing everything as a county to give [residents] that warning and give them a place to go,” said Collum.

In other business, Alabama Power requested to close County Road 604 that goes out to a camp that will not have its lease renewed. The company owns the land the road runs through and they want to put a gate up due to suspicious activity.
Moore made a motion to close County Road 604, and Commissioner Red Turnipseed seconded it. The request was approved unanimously.

Commissioner Bobby Agee was absent from Monday’s meeting.