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February 29, 2012 | 08:10 AM
LYONS TOWNSHIP — Federal funding has come through and groundbreaking for a $737,000 tornado and disaster shelter at Country Estates mobile home park is expected to happen in either March or April.

On Jan. 4, Country Estates received a $746,000 grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said Cynthia Ganka, the association manager at Country Estates. The Country Estates Community Association has all its grants approved and funding is allocated, she said.

FEMA will pay 75 percent, or $559,500, toward the shelter, Ganka said.

The Wisconsin Emergency Management Agency will provide 12.5 percent, or $93,2150.

About 10 percent or $90,000 will come from the Community Block Grant program, with 2.5 percent from the town, she said..

Construction should be completed by the end of summer, Ganka said.

The shelter is to be built on the site of a baseball diamond near the middle of the mobile home park.

Its location should give residents between 10 to 20 minutes to get to the shelter. The diamond will be relocated.

Country Estates is just south of Hospital Road at 6978 Prairie Lane.

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Money for the shelter was delayed late last year until Congress approved a budget early last month.

Without a budget, there was no money for the grant allocations, Ganka said. No money meant no construction.

Ganka and Country Estates had to wait until Congress gets its ducks in a row and approves a budget.

Plans call for the shelter to be 2,455 square feet.

Under FEMA regulations that would be big enough to shelter everyone living at Country Estates.

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Country Estates serves 206 manufactured and mobile homes, and population of about 400.

- The structure will also be handicapped accessible.

- The doors of the shelter will be keyed to unlock when the disaster alert siren sounds.

- The storm shelter cannot be used as a multipurpose building.

- The shelter's 12-inch concrete walls will be designed to withstand 250 mph winds.

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- The structure would also be able to withstand blows from projectiles or wind-propelled objects.

- The shelter will have its own power generator.

The engineering firm of Crispell-Snyder has already been hired by the Town Board to do the engineering, site testing, preliminary plans, final plans.

The company will also write the bid specifications, help the town go out for construction bids and then perform all inspections of the building.

Maintenance of the shelter will cost about $5,000 a year.

According to research by the community association, a tornado demolished a trailer near Country Estates in the 1970s.

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