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WEDNESDAY, APRIL 18, 2007
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Community members, including seniors from Goodsprings Senior Center, view the new storm shelter on Alabama 99 next to the Goodsprings Volunteer Fire Department that is open to the public.
Daily photo by Holly Hollman
Community members, including seniors from Goodsprings Senior Center, view the new storm shelter on Alabama 99 next to the Goodsprings Volunteer Fire Department that is open to the public.

Tornado shelter opens in Goodsprings
New Limestone County storm refuge, open to the public, unveiled Tuesday

By Holly Hollman
hhollman@decaturdaily.com 340-2445

GOODSPRINGS — Amidst the ridges and valleys of Goodsprings are people like Tina Luedeke, who do not have shelter at home from a tornado.

"I don't have a basement," Luedeke said. "My son does at his house, but I could get blown away by the time I made it there."

Now Luedeke and the community in northwestern Limestone County has a safe place.

On Tuesday, District 4 Commissioner Bill Daws had an open house for a new storm shelter on Alabama 99 adjacent to Goodsprings Volunteer Fire Department, Goodsprings Senior Center and Coon Hunters Club.

"We'll gladly take off crawling over here," said Senior Center patron Katherine Craig, who held hands with other seniors to make the walk to the shelter from the center.

Seniors visit the center three days a week. Luedeke said a couple of weeks ago a storm blew through that scared the seniors.

The shelter still was unfinished.

"I called Bill Daws to see if we could get in it anyway," she said. "He said we'd probably get muddy, but I said muddy was better than getting killed. The storm died down so we didn't have to get in it, but it's nice to know it's there now if we need it."

Daws said the shelter will hold 100 people comfortably, but as many as 150 can fit inside. It also is handicap accessible.

Brooks and Son Construction built the shelter for $57,500, which includes a recent change order for two retaining walls.

Athens-Limestone Emergency Management Agency spokeswoman Daphne Ellison said a FEMA grant funded 75 percent of the project.

District 4 workers did in-kind service to fund the remaining 25 percent.

"We're in tornado season now, so this is a good thing for the community," Ellison said. "The doors will remain open at all times unless we start having trouble with vandalism."

Ellison said EMA is trying to get a similar grant to construct a storm shelter at Clements Volunteer Fire Department on U.S. 72.

Tornado shelters

Bill Daws said the Goodsprings shelter gives his Limestone County commission district five public shelters. Parent groups built shelters at West Limestone High School and Owens Elementary. The Lester community built a shelter, and a FEMA grant built a shelter at Pleasant Grove Volunteer Fire Department.

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