FEMA approves $1 million grant for community safe room in Forrest County

FEMA approves $1 million grant for community safe room in Forrest County

FORREST COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - The Federal Emergency Management Agency approved a grant for $1 million to construct a stand-alone community safe room outside of Hattiesburg.

U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker and Congressman Steven Palazzo announced the approval of the Hazard Mitigation grant Tuesday.

The facility will be a 5,000-square-foot safe room at the Dixie Attendance Center at 790 Elks Lake Road in Forrest County and will be designed to shelter 750 people within a half-mile radius, according to the press release.

"Safe room construction throughout Mississippi is part of a broad effort to provide shelter during severe weather, like the deadly tornadoes that hit Hattiesburg a year ago," Cochran said.  "FEMA is working with Forrest County to construct a facility to protect hundreds of people, and I commend this federal investment in the Pine Belt."

"In communities all across Mississippi, local governments are investing in storm shelters to protect their citizens from dangerous weather," Wicker said.  "As the Hattiesburg area continues to recover from last year's devastating tornadoes, I am pleased FEMA will be contributing to this project that will help protect residents for years to come."

"After witnessing the devastation caused by the tornadoes in Hattiesburg a year ago, I am glad to see FEMA is working with Forrest County to take proactive steps to protect Mississippians. This is an example of a great federal investment that will save lives during future severe weather events," Palazzo said.

The project, which is expected to cost $1.18 million overall and have more than 3,500 square feet of usable space, will be built to withstand winds of 250 mph.  In June 2015, FEMA awarded $85,050 for planning and design work.\