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The Colbert County Emergency Management Agency and city of Sheffield are working together to bring a storm shelter to Southeast Sheffield. The shelter will be built on property near the city's Headstart program on East 17th Street. [RUSS COREY/TIMESDAILY]

SHEFFIELD — Two grant programs are being utilized by the city and Colbert County Commission to build a storm shelter in southeast Sheffield.

Colbert County Emergency Management Agency Director Michael David Smith said he is waiting to hear if the Federal Emergency Management Agency will approve a request for funding for a new shelter.

If the request is provided, the project will require a 25 percent match from the local governments.

"A lot of that will be in-kind work," Smith said.

Sheffield City Councilwoman Penny Freeman said businessman Kevin Mansell has donated property near the old Southeast School for the new shelter. The city's head start program is also located at the school.

The city is waiting to hear if it will receive a demolition grant that will allow it to remove the remnants of the old Southeast School, Freeman said. 

"The city plans to cover the cost of the demolition of that property to ensure the storm shelter is erected if the grant funding is not received," Freeman said.

Freeman said she has been communicating with the Emergency Management Agency since 2016 about adding a storm shelter to southeast Sheffield. She also contacted churches in that area with basements that could serve as alternative shelters.

"The addition of a storm shelter in southeast Sheffield will serve as a vital addition to the community, and to the safety of the residents herein," Freeman said.

Smith said he hopes to know by the end of the year if the FEMA grant is approved. The money is FEMA mitigation funds made available after the late February flood.

Smith said based on the cost of shelters build since 2012, the 45-person capacity shelter will cost about $50,000. FEMA will provide 75 percent of the funding.

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