By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) announced that three north Alabama communities have been awarded funding to build community safe rooms. Gov. Bentley announced that hundreds of residents in six north Alabama communities will find be able to find safe harbor in future storms with help from a total of $89,340 in grant awards.
The Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) awarded $50,000 to the town of Triana for the construction of a safe room that can accommodate up to 240 persons.
Hackleburg, which was devastated by a tornado in April 2011, was awarded a $22,973 to build a safe room that can provide shelter for up to 96 persons.
Winston County received $16,367 to purchase five prefabricated safe rooms, capable of sheltering a total of 48 people.
The safe rooms will be located in the communities of Natural Bridge, Helicon, Nesmith, Houston and Moreland. Each safe room will be designed to withstand tornado-force winds and will be built to comply with the American Disability Act.
Gov. Bentley said on Facebook, “These grants to build shelters will help keep people safe during severe weather. I appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs and the Appalachian Regional Commission.”
Since World War II more residents of Alabama have been killed by tornados than in any other state. The most deadly storms to hit the state affected a broad swath of Alabama in April 2011. Despite this, most homes and communities in Alabama still do not have storm shelters or safe rooms.
The ARC program is administered by the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA). ADECA administers ARC and a wide range of additional federal and state partnership programs that support law enforcement, economic development, workforce development, recreation, energy conservation and water resource management. Congress established the ARC in 1965 as a supplemental grant program to raise the standard of living, improve the quality of life and promote economic development in portions of the 13 Appalachian mountain states. Thirty-seven Alabama counties, including Madison, Marion and Winston counties, are part of the ARC subject area.