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Dallas could gain two storm shelters

Two new storm shelters might be on their way to Dallas County.

Dallas County Emergency Management Agency director Rhonda Abbott, speaking to the Dallas County Commission, said the city of Valley Grande announced it would not apply for a storm shelter, which opened up opportunities in the county.

“That left the money we got from the state, which was about $389,000, that left a storm shelter out there that didn’t have a home,” she said. “I have to submit to the state and let them know this is what we’re going to do with the money. What I’m asking you today is to consider doing two.”

Two shelters would cost $226,038, but the county’s match would be $56,000. Abbott said the match could be smaller.

“I checked with (Dallas County engineer Coosa Jones’) office, and the in-kind portion of work they provided for the Burnsville shelter, which was the most recent shelter, was about $11,500,” she said. “If you double that, you’re looking at an estimate of in-kind for $23,000.”

The recent tornadoes in Maplesville proved how important storm shelters can be in a community, Probate Judge Kim Ballard said.

“To really bring what storm shelters can do home, in Maplesville a week before last, there were 150 people in the storm shelter there,” he said. “People would have died had they not been in that shelter.”

The shelters, Ballard said, would prove very beneficial to residents of outlying areas in the future.

“We can certainly use two more shelters,” he said. “That’s two more than we thought we were going to get. I think if we wind up with $30,000 in these two shelters, that is money well-spent to get $400,000 worth of shelters.”

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