By Dustin Ensinger
Visitors to Delaware State Park may soon have a place to seek refuge in severe weather.
The Delaware County commissioners on Thursday voted 2-1 in favor of approving a $800,000 federal grant application to pay for the construction of two severe weather safe rooms at the site.
The federal government would pay for $600,000 of the cost. Another $100,000 would be picked up by the state.
The county’s share would also be $100,000.
Commissioner Gary Merrell voted against the measure.
“We can say it’s only $100,000 to our whole county,” he said, “but we as taxpayers are footing the whole bill - $800,000.”
“As county taxpayers we each pay state and federal taxes as well,” he added.
Merrell also said the chance of a tornado striking the area is slim.
Commissioner Ken O’Brien said he was supportive of the measure because generators for each of the buildings is included with the grant.
He said the facilities could be used for shelters for emergencies other than a tornado, such as a widespread power outage.
“To me it is much more than a tornado shelter,” he said.
Each building will have the capacity to hold about 400 individuals.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-363-1161 ext. 344 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.