Residents of Lone Grove and most of Carter County can now apply for a storm shelter rebate program, that could slash the price of the safe rooms or storm shelters for area homeowners. Shelby Levins reports.
Lone Grove City leaders and officials with Carter County Emergency Management tell us they recently got word from FEMA that funds would be available for storm shelter rebates through “Hazard Mitigation Grants.” Both groups applied, and told us they were immediately approved the funds. Now Carter County and the City of Lone Grove are each being given $300,000 to refund homeowners who buy and install storm shelters.
"I just found out about this today, and boy I grabbed an application and I've stared filling it out,” Joan Kendall said.
Kendall is a long-time Lone Grove resident, who's hoping to install a storm shelter in her backyard. She says she excited about the rebate program that may allow her to make the investment.
"I really am, I never would have been able to afford it other wise,” Kendall explained.
Storm shelters don't come cheap. Lone Grove City Manger Marianne Elfert says they average a couple thousand dollars. But now homeowners could be reimbursed 75% the purchase cost, up to $2,000 dollars for the installation of a storm shelter.
"You have to pay up front. So this involves a commitment on part of our citizens to protect themselves, but the government is offering up to $2,000 for you to have a safe shelter and I think that is a gift,” Elfert explained.
Elfert says $300,000 worth of rebates are available to Lone Grove homeowners, which works out to fund about 115 storm shelters or safer rooms. And Carter County also has $300,000 worth of storm shelter rebates available for county homeowners, excluding those living inside the Ardmore or Lone Grove city limits.
"It allows them the opportunity to get the shelter they need. We live in the middle of tornado alley, you never can tell when one's going to hit or where,” Paul Tucker, the Emergency Management Director of Carter County, said.
Elfert says after living through the devastation of deadly February 10th tornado, this is another step towards the area's recovery.
"I think it's a reassurance we're moving towards the future and we're getting back to normal and on the right path,” Elfert explained.
Kendall says that's the piece of mind and protection she's looking for. So while angels continue to look over her front yard, she hopes to soon have a storm shelter in her back yard.
Officials say there are some restricts to the rebate program. If you would like to pick up an application to see if you qualify, they will be available at the Lone Grove City Hall and at the Carter County Emergency Management Office.