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December 19, 2012

2 storm shelters approved for West Point

WEST POINT — Almost two years have passed since the tornado outbreak on April 27.

Many homes and businesses damaged or destroyed during the storms are back functioning just as they were the day before things turned upside down. About the only sign still visible are bare-branched splintered trees.

Though the town of West Point wasn't directly affected, safety of the citizens during severe weather has been a high priority of officials since then. On Monday during its monthly council meeting, Mayor Kenneth Kilgo informed the council that a FEMA hazard mitigation grant was approved to cover the cost of two storm shelters. The project was approved for an estimated cost of $210,000. Because the county will be doing in-kind site prep work, Kilgo estimates the town's portion of the cost to be around $57,000.

"I think the storms of April 27 opened a lot of people's eyes," Kilgo said. "It was after then we decided when the money became available to apply for a grant, and it just so happens we got approved."

Currently, Kilgo said the only shelter the town has is town hall.

"People just know if its bad weather to come here, but other than that we don't have our own," he said.

Unlike Garden City, which received five shelters and placed them all at one location, Kilgo added these would be spread throughout town. He said one would be placed behind town hall near the playground, while the other will be placed at the old Doris' Diner site located near Alabama Highway 157.

After signing the necessary paperwork Monday night, Kilgo said the town has 90 days to start work. Once complete, each shelter will be able to accommodate 96 people each.

"We'll go straight into administering and get ready to go to bid," Kilgo said. "That's our main focus."

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

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