$3.2 Million Will Support Construction of Safe Room in Louisville, Plus Two More Facilities in Tupelo

WASHINGTON, D.C. – September 10, 2015 – (RealEstateRama) — U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced that the City of Tupelo and the Louisville Municipal School District, two areas devastated by tornadoes in 2014, will receive more than $3.2 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to fund construction of three community safe rooms.

The Mississippi Senators reported Thursday morning that Tupelo has been awarded two FEMA Hazard Mitigation grants, including nearly $1.1 million to construct a 6,813-square-foot safe room shelter at the Dot Cooper Park in Lee Acres (968 Fillmore Dr.), and another $1.0 million for a 6,370-square-foot facility at Theron Nichols Park (1743 Mitchell Ave.). The Louisville school district will receive $1.1 million to construct a 6,126-square-foot multipurpose safe room at the Nanih Waiya Attendance Center (13937 Highway 397).

“We remember the rash of tornadoes that devastated Mississippi in recent years, and these FEMA grants continue federal support of our state’s rigorous efforts to protect more citizens from tornadoes and other severe weather,” said Cochran, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “Preparedness activities by Tupelo, Louisville and the state are essential to protecting lives in emergency situations.”

“I am pleased to see that Tupelo and Louisville are now equipped with more resources to prepare for unpredictable weather,” Wicker said. “Storms in recent years have underscored Mississippi’s need to be ready for emergencies. These new community safe rooms will help cover those needs and, more importantly, save lives.”

The Lee Acres facility will be designed with 5,295 usable square feet to protect more than 1,053 residents. The overall cost of the shelter is $1,216,120 with FEMA providing 90 percent, or $1,094,508, for construction. In December 2014, the city was awarded $85,844 in Phase I funding for this project.

The Theron Nichols Park safe room will provide 5,540 usable square feet of space to harbor 1,102 people. FEMA is providing 90 percent, or $1,023,341, of the total project cost of $1,137,045. The city was awarded $80,216 in December for Phase I of the project.

The Louisville school district’s multipurpose safe room will be constructed in the Nanih Waiya school cafeteria, providing 3,626 square feet of usable space to protect 634 students, staff and visitors. FEMA’s $1,116,500 contribution will cover 57 percent of the overall $1,963,740 cost of the facility. The school district also received $41,323 in Phase I funding in December.

Each of the three new safe room facilities will be built to withstand wind speeds of up to 250 mph and will meet FEMA 361 Guidelines, which include backup water/wastewater, power generation and other emergency necessities.

The FEMA Hazard Mitigation Grant Program provides funding to states and local governments for long-term hazard mitigation activities designed to reduce the loss of life and property due to natural disasters. Data shows that investments in hazard mitigation before a disaster to prevent damages and save lives creates a net savings of taxpayer dollars during post-disaster response and recovery periods.

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