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‘Safe room’ plans altered

‘Safe room’ plans altered
Late last year, the Union City council was making plans to build a safe room on currently owned city property located between Fire Station 2 and Union City Elementary School.
The city was to use a 100 percent Federal Emergency Management Agency grant and Union City would have only had to pay maintenance on the building, city manager Kathy Dillon told the council at that time.
Since then, plans have changed.
At Tuesday night’s meeting, the council was to have considered a FEMA grant application for the construction of a safe room at the former Central Elementary School, which the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee plans to use in the future.
Clint Joiner, a member of the executive committee of the board of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee, told council members Tuesday night the foundation established to renovate the former school will not be able to help fund the safe room.
It was thought the club’s foundation might be able to pay the now matching funds required for the grant and for the expansion of the building, which would have allowed it to be used by the club as a gym on a daily basis.
Joiner explained stipulations in the foundation’s guidelines call for the money to be used for Central school and no other construction. He said the foundation’s board only meets twice a year and it would be nearly impossible to get them together on such short notice.
He said the application, which had a March 1 deadline and is under extension, is in process, but the name can still be changed from the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northwest Tennessee to Union City.
Ms. Dillon said there was a problem with the amount of land available at the location decided on in November, which is why the possible location was changed. She told The Messenger there is a formula used by FEMA based on the number of people who live within a certain radius of the building for the size of building required.
The city manager told the council there are no other property options except Central School.
She said there is a lot to be considered, specifically who would maintain the building, if it is to be used for any other reason than a storm shelter. Possible options for the building include a gym, a community center with kitchen facilities and city offices, specifically the police station.
Ms. Dillon said she would not recommend a working office, but a community center where tables and chairs can be stored away behind a wall after each use might be an option if the council wants a dual purpose building. She repeated someone would have to maintain it, but that it is completely up to the council.
She will continue to work on the matter and report back to the council, she said.
Published in The Messenger 3.21.12

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