Cochran, Wicker Announce $4.8 Million for Saferoom Projects in Lamar, George Counties

November 6, 2009

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker today announced approval of more than $4.83 million in federal funding to support the construction of community saferoom facilities in George and Lamar counties in South Mississippi.

The grant funding, provided through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Hazard Mitigation Grant Program, will support three projects, including east and west safe rooms near Lucedale and another project in Purvis.
“Severe weather associated with hurricanes, tropical storms or tornadoes is not limited directly to our coasts.  Dangers also exist inland, and these saferooms in Lamar and George counties will provide residents and emergency officials with havens during such storms,” Cochran said.

“Katrina reminded us that in addition to their impact along the coast, hurricanes and other storms have the potential to do a great deal of damage inland.  These funds will help officials in Lamar and George counties protect local citizens and respond effectively to future storms and other emergencies,” Wicker said.

For George County, just over $1.2 million has been approved for each of the two proposed saferooms near Lucedale.  Each 3,600-square-foot shelter will be designed to accommodate 316 people for up to 36 hours.  An eastern Lucedale saferoom will be constructed in the Agricola community, while a western shelter will be built in the Benndale community.  Agricola and Benndale are unincorporated communities.  Both projects will each cost an estimated $1.60 million to construct.

The Lamar County facility has been approved to receive $2.43 million for a 10,500-square-foot saferoom to be built near the multipurpose community center in Purvis, Miss.  This facility would be designed to accommodate approximately 1,000 people for up to 36 hours.  The total cost of this center is expected to total $3.25 million.

The three saferoom projects will be designed to meet FEMA’s 361 performance standards and will be constructed in two phases (design and construction).  The Hazard Mitigation Grant Program is used to aid states and local communities in implementing long-term hazard mitigation projects.  The grants represent 75 percent of the estimated cost for constructing each of the community safe rooms.

The three FEMA grants for Mississippi were given final approval today in collaboration with congressional appropriations committees.  Cochran is the ranking member on the Senate Appropriations Committee and serves on the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee that funds FEMA.