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County receives grant for tornado shelters

Crenshaw County will soon be the recipient of seven new above-ground tornado shelters after receiving over $500,000 in a FEMA grant.

Jessica Tomlin-Seabrook, the county’s EMA director, said the $562,031 would be used for the above-ground, prefabricated tornado shelters, which will be placed at various locations around the county.

“The county is paying a 25 percent match with either in-kind work or in cash to go along with this FEMA grant,” Tomlin-Seabrook said.

The county’s match will be approximately $140,507.

Tomlin-Seabrook and Lee Helms Associates, L.L.C. wrote the FEMA grant for the shelters.

“We found out about receiving the grant about three or four weeks ago,” she said. “The bids have been let out; in fact, March 23 is the bid deadline.”

As for the shelters themselves, Tomlin-Seabrook made it clear that they are for short-term stays only.

“They’ll only contain benches—no food or water will be stored inside them,” she explained. “These shelters are for tornadoes, not hurricanes.”

The approximate cost for each individual shelter is $80,290.15.

The shelters must be completed within a one-year time frame, or by Feb. 28, 2010.

In addition, the towns of Glenwood and Petrey also received separate FEMA grants for a tornado shelter in each of these municipalities. The county, however, does not have anything to do with paying for those two shelters.