The next time severe weather threatens Barren County, about 1,000 residents who previously did not have proper shelter will now have a safe place to go.
Using federal grant money, Barren County Emergency Management was able to coordinate the construction of 11 tornado safe rooms, each designed to shelter up to 100 people in the case of severe weather. Ten of the safe rooms have been completed, just in time for spring tornado season, said Tony Richey, emergency management director.
Barren County received Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation grants for 11 safe rooms at the cost of about $77,500 per room. Under the conditions of the grants, the county pays for 13 percent of the construction costs, while the state pays 12 percent and the federal government pays 75 percent.
The grant application process began three years ago, Richey said, and it was quite an undertaking. The county went through several steps of applying and surveying its population and meeting requirements before it could be approved.
“It’s a lot of hard work, and it’s not something you just twitch your nose and it’s done,” Richey said.
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