County to add more storm shelters soon

Published 7:34 pm Monday, April 1, 2013

Plans are underway to begin construction of three new storm shelters in Chilton County within the next couple of weeks.

During the Chilton County Commission meeting on March 25, commissioners approved a bid to Aqua Marine Enterprises Inc., a company out of Danville, for storm shelter construction.

Chilton County EMA director Bill Collum said the construction of the storm shelters for the county is based off a 75/25-percent match with the state paying 75 percent of the construction and the county paying 25 percent.

The county is hoping to be approved by Gov. Robert Bentley’s Emergency Relief Fund that gives money to counties to pay the 25-percent match.

Collum said paperwork was signed early Monday morning to apply for the fund and it should not be long before the county finds out if it was approved for the 25-percent match.

Project manager Lee Helms will submit the letter of request, and Collum said Helms was “optimistic” the request would be approved.

“This would be great for our county because if we were approved, the county would not have to pay any expense,” Collum said.

Currently, the county has six storm shelters with hopes of adding 11 more so that each resident in the county is only a five-minute drive from a shelter.

Collum said the three shelters that Aqua Marine Enterprises should construct soon will be in Verbena, Isabella and Higgins Ferry Road near Lake Mitchell.

Collum said Aqua Marine Enterprises has previously constructed two shelters in the county with one in Maplesville and the other in Union Grove.

“The ultimate goal is to have enough shelters so that when you hear the storm warning or the weather siren you can make it to a nearby shelter quickly,” Collum said. A letter should be sent from Bentley informing the county if it has been approved for the 25-percent match in the next few weeks. If approved, work on the three shelters would start immediately.