WHITE PLAINS, Ky. (WEHT) – One month removed from the deadly December 2021 tornado, the images of devastation in places like Bremen and Dawson Springs are still hard to process. Just down the road in White Plains, a glancing blow from that December storm was enough to spark conversation for construction of a potential tornado shelter in the community.
“I don’t think you realize until it affects you. It could have been us,” explains White Plains resident Virginia Lane. She also says she along with many other residents would be in support of a tornado shelter, and White Plains Mayor Joshua Slaton agrees.
“It was very awakening to see the destruction in Dawson Springs, and this is something that we’re definitely going to have to look at and try to make a difference,” says Mayor Slaton. “I mean, hopefully we never have a storm like that again, but this is something that we really need to invest in our community.”
While community support seems to be close to unanimous, one roadblock for this proposal is funding. For a town the size of White Plains, a project of this level would be close to, if not exceeding, the annual budget.
“The support of the community is going to help,” explains Mayor Slaton, “but when you’re looking at close to a $1 million project, there has to be some government agency that is going to be there to help with that.”
White Plains has been working with FEMA in hopes to receive grants to assist in the funding, something that will be fundamental in moving this proposal forward. While Mayor Slaton hopes to have a shelter constructed as soon as possible, funding and engineering research will take some time to complete and there is no timetable on when the project could be completed, if approved.