By Tiffeny Owens
The Cullman Times
Crews will put the final touches on a pre-fabricated community storm shelter at Smith Lake Park this month before it will be ready for residents to use in severe weather.
The shelter with space for 96 people was delivered and placed on the concrete slab Monday, said Doug Davenport, Cullman County Parks and Recreation Manager. Workers will return within a week or so to secure the structure to the concrete.
“It’s not just for campers. Anyone from the community can come out and use it,” Davenport said. “They say it can accommodate 96 comfortably, but I’ve been told you could probably double that if you absolutely had to.”
The shelter is located beside the park maintenance building. It has an emergency generator that runs on propane gas if power goes out, Davenport said. It is similar to the ones put up in the town of Garden City and the city of Hanceville. The town of West Point also plans to install two community storm shelters.
Safe-T-Shelter in Danville provided the Smith Lake shelter which was funded with a Hazard Mitigation grant through the Federal Emergency Management Agency. The county received the shelter at no cost since the land value was sufficient to cover its required 25 percent match.
Currently active community storm shelters for Cullman County include:
Vinemont/Providence VFD No. 1 on County Rd 1355 – capacity approx. 100. (96) FEMA approved shelter opened by VP VFD during a tornado watch for the area
Vinemont/Providence VFD No. 2 on Ridgeway St in town of South Vinemont – capacity approx. 100. (96) FEMA approved shelter opened by VP VFD during a tornado watch for the area.
Garden City Town Hall located on Hwy 31 S. Capacity approx. 450+ (500) (five units total) FEMA approved/funded shelter opened by town of Garden City during tornado watch.
Fairview Housing Authority located on Wesley Ave. Capacity approx. 100. Shelter is adjacent to 96. Countryside Acres Rd. Doors open at ALL times. FEMA approved/funded.
Chapel Village/Jones Chapel US Hwy 278 W. Capacity approx. 100. Shelter is located at 74 Co Rd 1034. Doors open at ALL times. FEMA approved/funded.
Dodge City Town Hall Basement located at 130 Howard Circle just off I-65 at the 299 mm. Capacity unknown. Opened by town of Dodge City during tornado watch.
Good Hope Town Hall Basement located at 134 Town Hall Drive just off I-65 at exit 304. Capacity approx. 100. Doors open at ALL times.
City of Cullman - Cullman Co Courthouse Basement Hallway located at 500 2nd Ave SW (building is opened and staffed by county maintenance employees during tornado watches issued after regular hours). Capacity unknown.
Tiffeny Owens can be reached email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 256-734-2131, ext. 135.