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February 17, 2013

Storm shelter approved for Smith Lake Park

CULLMAN — Those enjoying camping and other recreational activities at Smith Lake Park will now have a place to seek shelter when severe storms roll through or pop up.

The Cullman County Commission approved a resolution recently to authorize chairman Kenneth Walker to sign a sub-state grantee agreement for the shelter, contingent on ADECA Land Usage Approval. The shelter will be much like the ones that are in place in the town of Garden City and the city of Hanceville.

“This will be a prefab shelter and will hold 96 people,” Cherrie Haney, grant manager with the Cullman County Economic Development office, said.

The shelter will be paid for through a 75-25 match grant. However, Haney said because the land value at Smith Lake is so high, the piece of land where the shelter is being put in will stand as the match money for the project.

“That is unusual,” she said.

Haney told commissioners and those in attendance at the commission meeting that they wanted to put the shelter near the entrance to the park on County Road 385, but certain laws prohibited that.

“The Water Conservation wouldn’t allow that because it’s an open area,” she said.

Instead, it will now be placed next to the maintenance building.

“That property is under LWCI boundaries. The land is always recreational, and they wont let you do just anything,” Haney said. “But because the main building is there, they made an exception.”

Construction is expected to being within the next several months.

* Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at agraves@cullmantimes.com

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