The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Joplin Metro

August 6, 2013

Joplin to receive 32 storm shelters

JOPLIN, Mo. — The city of Joplin is to receive 32 storm shelters that had been used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency at temporary housing sites for residents displaced by the 2011 tornado.

The State Emergency Management Agency has notified the city that FEMA has turned over the shelters to the state. The state has offered them to the city for free.

The Joplin City Council on Monday agreed to accept the shelters and use half of them on public property. The council also approved an application process that will be used to donate the shelters to other organizations in the community.

Leslie Haase, the city's finance director, said it is estimated that the cost to move the shelters will be $8,650 each. That would cost about $138,400 for the 16 the city wants to use. She asked the council if the city could apply for a grant from the First Response Tornado Fund to pay the cost.

Council members said they did not want to take that money, because they  want it to remain for use by the community. They agreed to pay the cost of moving the shelters from the city's general fund. Councilman Morris Glaze said the city has not spent $150,000 that had been designated for city records storage enlargement and that money could be used for the shelter project instead. The council agreed.

According to the city's plan for its shelters, three of them would be placed at the Joplin Athletic Complex and two at the Joplin Regional Airport, the Public Works Center and the Public Safety Training Center. One each would be placed at the Joplin Police Department's South Station on Main Street, Schifferdecker Golf Course, MAPS office, Parks and Recreation Office, Joplin Museum Complex, Joplin Senior Center and the Turkey Creek Treatment Plant.

Haase told the council that there are still a number of organizations in the city that are vulnerable because they do not have a storm shelter.

"The proposed plan is to distribute the remaining shelters to eligible entities for free based on a priority ranking," she said, though organizations that accept the shelters will have to pay their own moving costs.

The priority list approved by the council are, in order, local or county government entities, mobile home parks, places that provide 24-hour care for the elderly or disabled, places that provide care for less than 24 hours such as daycares and preschools, and last would be non-residential organizations.

Haase said the city will accept applications for one category at a time for a 30-day period. When the number of shelters becomes low, the city will hold a drawing to determine who can apply for those remaining.

Priority will be given to those within the Joplin and Duquesne city limits, she said.

The application period for the first group, local and county government entities, will begin on Aug. 19.

The finance director said information on how to apply will be announced.


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