Thankful storm shelter

A new community storm shelter has been installed at Thankful Community Park along west 14th Street in Anniston. (Trent Penny/The Anniston Star)

The Calhoun County Commission on Thursday approved its part of an application for federal aid that would help build more community safe rooms within the county.

The safe rooms are FEMA-certified storm shelters that can hold anywhere from dozens to hundreds of people. A new safe room was installed in the Thankful community in November last year, which will bring the total in the county up to eight after it opens. The new units, if funded, would be similar to that shelter, which is built to withstand up to 250 mph winds.

Michael Barton, director of the county’s Emergency Management Agency, said that specific locations aren’t available yet because more considerations, like which organizations will assume responsibility for opening the shelters during storms, haven’t been finalized yet.

“We’re hoping to have about four different locations,” Barton said, with alternates if any particular location doesn’t work out. Each site has to be located outside the floodplain, within a half-mile of a population large enough to fill the shelter, and preferably on government property, near pre-existing parking.

“That narrows where you can locate these,” Barton said.

The commission’s action at Thursday’s meeting confirms that the county will assume responsibility for 25 percent of each shelter’s cost, with the federal government covering the remaining three quarters.

Also during the meeting, County Administrator Mark Tyner announced an additional caveat to the county’s new “snip-it ticket” program, which provides subsidized spay and neuter operations for the pets of county residents. Tickets will now be limited to five per household. Tyner said some households requested as many as eight tickets at once.

The program sold 274 tickets during its first week, he said.

In other business, the commission:

- Approved a list of surplus equipment to go to auction in March, including eight Mack dump trucks and various construction vehicles. It also approved the sale of outdated, surplus technology from the EMA, including fax machines and desktop computers.

- Agreed to partially fund a marketing video for the Chief Ladiga Trail by Gilbert Creative. The commission will contribute $1,475 to the project, an amount matched by the cities of Jacksonville, Piedmont, Anniston and Weaver, and another $7,375 from the Alabama Department of Tourism, for a total of $14,750.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.