Rare grant helps fund new emergency center

ELMORE COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - It's history in the making in Elmore County.

The EMA office just awarded a $1-million dollar grant from FEMA to build a new 11,500 square foot emergency operations center. The news comes just months after deadly tornadoes ripped through the state.

The grant is the largest one of its kind ever awarded in Alabama.

"In case there is an emergency we can be housed in one place," says Elmore County Commissioner Joe Faulk.

He says during previous storms, conditions at the EMA office weren't ideal.

"We had no restroom facilities, we had no running water. This is really an opportunity for us to prepare for disaster."

"You never know what might happen," says Dezzie Settles.

She remembers the April 27th tornadoes well.

"I lost two good friends in the storm--two female friends in the storm."

She's thankful the grant money is going toward emergency preparation.

"They're doing the right thing with it," she says.

Elmore County officials have been working for years to get this grant and when they found out they were awarded the money they were shocked.

"Because we were told on the outset in 2006 that this kind of money is usually not awarded for brick and mortar," adds Faulk.

Faulk says construction should begin in the next 4-6 months. Elmore county officials believe it will take an additional $250,000 dollars to build the center. They plan to start fundraising soon.

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