After four years of discussions, the Mississippi city of Southaven plans to go ahead with construction of a $3 million storm shelter that would double as a community center.
The Commercial Appeal reported a federal grant that will cover most of the cost for the project.
The multipurpose facility would serve the community as a severe storm shelter for up to 1,100 residents.
Aldermen this past week voted to authorize Mayor Darren Musselwhite to sign the grant award letter to accept $274,564 for the project’s first phase. The shelter is being funded by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency, officials say.
“By the city accepting this grant, we are saying the city wants to fund phase I and then we will commit five percent of our share with the anticipation of receiving the $2.7 million follow-up grant,” City Administrator Chris Wilson told the board.
Southaven’s local share will be $13,728 for the first phase, which includes preliminary design, engineering and site work. The 12,000-square-foot shelter would be built near the Southaven Arena on U.S. Highway 51 but would not be attached to the existing building.
The project’s second phase would cover construction of the shelter with the city’s 5 percent local match of the $2.7 million grant.
“We get a $3 million building and all we have to pay is $150,000,” Aldermen Raymond Flores said.
Wilson said the multiuse building will serve as an emergency shelter during severe weather. At other times, the building can be used for any number of community events.
Musselwhite said the shelter will be the first in Southaven.
The project’s first phase is expected to be completed in May 2014, and construction should begin on the shelter soon after, officials said.
The board did not discuss whether the shelter could double as a senior citizen activity center, which was part of the original plan when the city first discussed the emergency shelter in 2010.
Earlier this year, the city tabled a proposal to issue a $6.5 million bond to build a senior citizen center on a 10.5-acre site.
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