Eight New Community Storm Shelters Approved for Marshall County

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GUNTERSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT) -- The number of community storm shelters in Marshall County will double in 2013.

The Marshall County Commission accepted grants Tuesday for eight new safe rooms, to go along with seven current shelters, and an eighth in the Swearengin community which EMA director Anita McBurnett said is almost complete.

For a list of community tornado shelters across North Alabama, click here.

The safe rooms are designed to comfortably hold 96 people.

"It basically will double our capacity as far as community safe rooms go... so we are very excited," she said.

Each shelter will cost the county about $25,000, as FEMA covers 75% of the expense.

"You can only apply for so many, and you can only apply for them after storms," District One Commissioner Bill Stricklend said.

"You can't apply for them when you didn't have a storm."

The Hebron community began work on their storm shelter in Fall 2011, with mitigation assistance provided in the aftermath of a 2009 storm.  It opened in February.

The Swearengin shelter is funded in assistance made available after the tornado that hit Albertville in April 2010, and now money is coming in for areas hit April 27, 2011.

Stricklend's district sustained the most permanent damage in that day's storms.

"We had five fatalities as it went from one end of my district to the other," he said.

"We were working [on areas hit by] tornadoes from the morning, when we got hit in the evening, so yeah, we had a rough year."

They have to be built on county-owned property, so one will sit outside the district one shop in the current location of the recycle drop-off.

The county received property donated specifically for the other shelters in district one.

One will be across from the Georgia Mountain Volunteer Fire Department and Community Center, and the third at the Pine Haven RV and Trailer Park, donated by the owners.

The other three districts get five shelters total

"We are very pleased with the locations that we do have and that's going to afford better access to other areas and populations that presently did not have access to those, so yeah, looking forward to it," McBurnett said.

County officials say it will take a few months to get all the sites prepared for installation, so it important for residents to prepare for safety in the interim, including a plan identifying where safe places are and how long it takes to get there.

"This is true for people who are traveling back and forth to work, knowing where these are at, so as they're choosing safe routes, they have a location to go to," McBurnett said.

The future community safe rooms are:

District 1

Georgia Mountain Community Shelter
2485 Georgia Mountain Road
Guntersville, AL 35976

Riverview Community Shelter
1345 Cha-La-Kee Road
Guntersville, AL 35976

Scant City/Grassy Community Shelter
3850 Eddy Scant Road
Arab, AL 35016

District Two

Claysville Community Shelter
22165 US Highway 431
Guntersville, AL 35976

Grant Senior Center Community Shelter
307 2nd Avenue West
Grant, AL 357647

District Three

Nixon Chapel Community Shelter
7925 Nixon Chapel Road
Horton, AL 35980

Pleasant Grove Community Shelter
7275 Section Line Road
Albertville, AL 35950

District Four

Asbury/Martling Community Shelter
4059 Martling Road
Albertville, AL 35951

For a list of community tornado shelters across North Alabama, click here.

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