Delayed Clanton storm shelters could finally come to fruition

Published 4:06 pm Friday, September 4, 2015

Clanton could soon be getting four long-awaited storm shelters.

Though the shelter projects are still in the “pre-construction” phase, according to architect Barry Davis, the wheels seem to finally have been set in motion.

City officials submitted applications for grants for the shelters more than four years ago, Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver, but there were delays related to approvals from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Approval was finally granted, and Clanton’s City Council approved a bid for installation of the shelters at a meeting Aug. 24.

The bid of $231,940 was submitted by Aqua Marine Enterprises.

The grant would pay for two-thirds of the cost, while the city would be responsible for the other one-third.

The shelters will be installed at the following locations:

•Off Old Henry Road in the Lomax community.

•Adjacent to the Clanton Senior Center off Enterprise Road.

•Near E.M. Henry Head Start Center in the West End community.

•Near the Park Plaza/Fred’s shopping center.

Davis said paperwork is still being finalized and that work on the sites could begin in three weeks.

Once site work begins, progress should come quickly, as the shelters are pre-fabricated.

A slab foundation is put in place at each site. Then, the shelter is placed on the slab and anchored down, and dirt banks are raised around the sides.

“We’ve got everything ready to go,” Driver said.

Each shelter will hold about 50 people.

Driver said it has yet to be determined who would be responsible for unlocking the shelters in the event of severe weather, but the task could fall to the city’s police force.

Though there are nine storm shelters in Chilton County, only one of those, the basement of Clanton City Hall, is located in the city.

The city hall shelter often houses hundreds of residents when it is opened during severe weather, Driver said.

“We get so many folks in there that we can’t hardly get them out,” he said.