Sheltered From Storms
People in Pettis County will soon have safe places to go during a tornado. A federal grant will pay for a new shelter right near an elementary school.
"We've had a lot of tornados over the years, and we've had injuries and fatalities through those," Pettis County Commissioner Rusty Kahrs said. "So, to do what we can do reduce the risk for the people around Pettis County, basically we feel a certain responsibility to take this on."
On March 12, 2006, tornados ripped through Pettis County, and caused extensive damage. This week's grant announcement means eight new shelters strategically located around the county.
One area is not more that tall grass right now, but its one of the eight new proposed areas for a tornado shelter. They chose the area because it was donated by the owner, and because of its close approximation, two football fields away from the school.
For educators in Smithton, the grant means a newer and perhaps safer tornado location.
"The basement is not huge, its small, and its very cramped," Smithton Elementary School Principal Cindy Jorgenson said. "It would be a place we could go for the short-term, but if we had something long-term we would need something better."
Construction on these shelters should begin before the next storm season.
The cost of the eight shelters is almost $3 million.