New safe rooms in city
The city of Russellville is moving forward with plans to construct seven new community safe rooms that can be used by residents in the event of severe weather.
At their meeting on Sept. 4, the Russellville City Council approved the construction of two of the safe rooms that have sites that are already outfitted with the proper water, sewer, gas, and electric hook-ups in order to meet current standards.
Those two safe rooms will be located at the Russellville Fire Department Station 2 on U.S. 43 and at the Westside Apartments in Russellville.
The council also approved a motion to allow Mayor David Grissom to work with NACOLG and Franklin County EMA director Roy Gober to finalize plans for the other proposed community safe room sites at the following locations: John G. Blackwell Sports Complex; Chucky Mullins Community Center; Eastside Apartments; a location on Dillard Hollow Road; and at the Driver’s Education Range on the Russellville High School campus.
Russellville Fire Chief Joe Mansell said each location had been carefully considered based on its proximity to a high number of residents and to be spread evenly around the city.
“We will basically have storm shelters now that will be scattered throughout the city,” Mansell said.
“We looked for locations that would be on property already owned by the city, and these locations were the best ones we came up with that would protect the most citizens in case of bad weather.”
These new community safe rooms will be funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) with the city being responsible for 25 percent of the cost of each room.
According to Gober, the low bid price from Safety Shelter was $49,313 per safe room. Gober said the current standards also maintain that each shelter should include both a male and female restroom, and the cost to construct a restroom would be approximately $4,500 per shelter, bringing the total cost to an estimated $54,000 per room and an overall cost to the city of approximately $94,000 for the complete construction of seven safe rooms.
Gober said the rooms would be 100-person rooms built to withstand 250 mph winds.
Grissom said these seven new safe rooms would be in addition to the two existing safe rooms at the Ralph C. Bishop Community Center and the old Russellville Junior High location.
“You can’t go wrong when you are investing in the safety of your citizens,” Grissom said.
“These safe rooms are something the city definitely needs and we are glad that we are able to purchase these through a grant from FEMA to keep the cost manageable.
“I appreciate everyone who played a part in this project and making sure we have safe places for our citizens to go when they need it.”