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March 16, 2013

Safe rooms funded for area senior centers

CULLMAN — Senior citizens will now have a safe place to take shelter should storms rumble through while they’re visiting the senior center.

The Cullman County Commission agreed to authorize Chairman Kenneth Walker to sign a state sub-agrement for community safe rooms at the Cullman Senior Center, Colony Senior Center, and Crane Hill Senior Center on Tuesday.

“I appreciate the hard work of the Cullman County Economic Development Board, Commission on Aging, EMA, Senator Bussman, Representative Buttram, and everyone else involved,” Walker said. “I think it will be very beneficial to all.”

According to Commission on Aging director Randall Shedd, the rooms would be attached to the existing buildings, keeping seniors from having to go outside in the weather.

“It’s a great day for our seniors,” Shedd said. “It’s always worried me at the centers when all of a sudden a storm or disaster comes up while we have a center full of people. This will solve this worry for them, and us as well.”

All three are being paid for through a match grant. The total cost of the grant for the room in Colony, which will hold 48 people, is $110,446, with the federal share being $82,835. With the land value being $7,700, the county’s portion will be $19,911, though that cost could be lessened with in-kind word. In Crane Hill where the room will hold 48 people, the total cost is $127,746. The federal share is $95,810, while the county share will be $6,936 because of the $25,000 land value.

The Cullman Senior Center will be able to hold 89 people. The total cost of the grant is $153,340, with the federal share being $115,005. The land value is $20,000, leaving the county share being $18,335.

Shedd hopes several more will be approved in the near future.

“We have some more hopefully coming down the pipe,” he said. “When finished, we hope we have one at every senior center.”

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

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