Russellville City Council approves 4 new storm shelters for the city

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RUSSELLVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) – In just a few months, it will be the fifth  anniversary of the April 27, 2011 tornado outbreak. Since that time, communities continue to find ways to protect their citizens in case that ever happens again.

There are images of devastation in Phil Campbell and Hackleburg burned into the mind of Russellville Mayor David Grissom. Seeing the destruction first hand was life changing.

He made it a mission to find safe places for Russellville residents to go.

“Based on the people’s response, the way they are going to the shelters, we just felt like it would be good to have more available for them,” stated Grissom.

In 2011 the city had just two community shelters in place. Fast forward to today – they have four.

Through FEMA grants, the city is doubling its capacity in the coming months. Four more storm shelters will be placed around the city, and they are waiting on approval for a fifth.

“We took a map of the city, we wanted to try and place them all around the city instead of just having one big one, in one spot,” Grissom explained.

When the shelter project is complete, Grissom said they will be able to protect 10% of the city’s population.

And there will be other places for residents to go when warning sirens sound.

Russellville city leaders said they have a little bit of site-preparation work to complete before the shelters can be installed.

They hope to have them operational by the spring storm season.

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