Franklin County Mobile Home Park Adds Two Tornado Shelters

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FRANKLIN COUNTY, Ala. - (WHNT)  One Franklin County community can rest a little easier, knowing tornado protection is now right in their back yards.

Two tornado shelters have been built inside the Payne Creek mobile home park in Tharptown.

The owner says he’s been trying to get shelters built in the park for the past eight years.  More than 70 families live in the park.

“This type of place, if a tornado hits, it`s going to be devastating and that`s what I worried about,” said owner, Clint Dotson.

One family in the park, Lotahr and Grace Mason, moved to the area within the past year from California.

It's the couple's first tornado season in Alabama, and the family had many concerns.

“Sometimes I hear you get no warnings, so we really didn`t have a plan,” said Grace Mason.

Now the Mason's can see where they need to go from their yard and be there within minutes of a warning.

“I was really concerned being out here of what to do, and now I know, it`s right there in front of me,” said Grace.

“That`s a big weight off my shoulders,” added her husband Lotahr Mason.  “I have enough to deal with out there on the road not have to worry about trying to get home and keep her safe, all she has to do is walk right over there.”

A FEMA grant paid for 75 percent of the construction costs.

The owner spent nearly $40,000 to supplement the grant, but he says that expense is well worth it, for his tenant’s' safety.