Butler completes new storm shelter
BUTLER, Ala. (WTOK) - Citizens in the town of Butler will now have a safe location to go when bad weather strikes.
“There is a need. There is definitely a need,” Butler Mayor Mike Williams said.
A state-of-the-art storm shelter is now open in Butler.
“This is the last project of the 2011 tornado event. We are at the end. We had until June 24th to complete this,” Williams said.
The 2800 square-foot building can house 317 people at a time. It’s built to withstand up to 250 mph winds.
“It’s the only of its kind in Choctaw County,” Williams explained. “The only other certified shelter that we have in the county, to my knowledge, is the one in City Hall that has a capacity of 95 people.”
Equipped with a natural gas-powered generator, medical equipment, handicap bathrooms and a kitchen, the facility will also be used for things like training.
“We are probably looking at around three years. It was not an overnight event,” Williams said. “It was something we had to work for. Everything is a process. You have to start someone and we started the process and completed it.”
Mayor Williams said the $1.1 million project was made possible through a FEMA grant. Butler will only have to pay 25 percent of the total cost.
“If it saves one life for a quarter of a million dollars, hey, it’s worth saving one life. There’s a lot of people that utilize the other shelter. These storms have been violent that come through here and they fill that shelter up,” Williams said.
William says his office and the council worked together to provide safety to the citizens during the storm. He encourages other municipalities to investigate similar grants.
“We write lots of grants and we get rejected on a good many. You know, the success rate on grants is not real high,” Williams said. “The worst thing you can be told is no, so just do it.”
Williams said they will add more parking and steps in the next phase of the project.
The shelter is located at 229 South Academy Ave., Butler, Ala. (just behind Butler Townhall).
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