Jackson County leaders break ground for three hurricane shelters

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Seeing these Jackson County leaders so excited about turning dirt may seem a bit strange to some. But they're enthusiastic because the new pre-land fall storm shelters are finally going up to help protect people from another Katrina.

"Not everyone will have the funds readily available to evacuate the area. Sometimes many citizens will just linger around because they don't think the situation will be as severe," Jackson County Supervisor Melton Harris said.

The new storm structures will be located here in Vancleave, Hurley, and St. Martin. Seth Dunne is the program manager over this $9 million project.

"We are starting with site work for the building here in Vancleave," Dunne said about the project. "In Hurley, we are starting to pour the concrete. Within the next month, you would see the construction of three 10,000 foot FEMA 361 shelters."

FEMA's 361 standards basically means those looking for shelter will find modern, sturdy structures that can withstand wind speeds of 200 miles per hour.

"They provide the utilities; they provide resources for the general public to come into a safe and secure environment."

A safe and secure environment sounds good to Paige Roberts with the Red Cross.

"It won't be a problem for the Red Cross volunteers who are running it because the utilities will go automatically, the walls will stay standing, and they will be okay," Roberts said.

The shelters should be ready by next hurricane season. The county is also using the Fontainebleau Community Center on Highway 57 in Ocean Springs as a post-landfall shelter.

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