Safe Room Rebates

Margie ball has a storm shelter, but you have to know where to look to find it.   "It can be easily camouflaged," said Ball as she stood in front of a pretty garden planted over her cellar. Ball leads guests down a short stair well that takes you into the place where she takes shelter during serious storms.

Ball paid $4,000 for the cellar in 1999. Today a Nacogdoches resident can apply for a safe room rebate that will cover half the cost or up to $2500 of the cost.

No one wants to spend too much time in the six foot by eight foot steel room, but during a violent storm it can provide hours of comfort. Ball recalls the longest period she's stayed in the shelter. "Probably about six hours until the storm passed and we felt it was safe to come out and it was a feeling of safety and security."

A vent provides some fresh air. And it's built on high enough ground to prevent flooding. The family keeps a storm box stocked with necessities.  "Toilet paper, batteries, a lantern, a pump for the air mattress, our Bible," lists Ball as she goes through the box.

Nacogdoches city officials applied for the safe room rebates knowing that more people share Mrs Ball's concerns. Ball said, "The storms are becoming more violent. There are more lives lost to tornadoes than every before."  Ball and her husband began researching storm cellars after their daughter narrowly missed a deadly tornado near Georgetown. "I encourage individuals, neighborhoods and especially mobile home parks to consider purchasing a storm shelter," said Ball.

The awarded grant will provide funds for at least 500 new shelters in Nacogdoches.  The City of Nacogdoches Planning Department is overseeing the federally-funded rebate program for the retrofitting or placement of a National Storm Shelter Association (NSSA) approved above or below-ground safe rooms.    Applications can be picked up at the City of Nacogdoches Planning Department, 202 East Pilar Rm 110, and are available online at   Applications are being accepted until January 1, 2007