- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

TUPELO, Miss. (AP) - Tupelo has received money for architectural design and engineering of domed storm shelters able to hold a total of 2,300 people in two city parks.

The domes are designed to withstand winds up to 250 mph, The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal reported (https://bit.ly/1JzrOlD).

The city will be responsible for 10 percent of the $2.5 million total construction cost. The rest of the money will come from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.

A 6,370-square-foot dome able to hold 1,100 people is planned for Theron Nichols Park. The other, at Dot Cooper Kelly Park, will be 6,800 square feet and able to hold nearly 1,200 people.

Planning could take up to a year, putting construction and completion of the domes sometime in 2016.

When there’s no dangerous storm in the area, but buildings will have other uses. A similar safe room built two years ago in Smithville is at the school and holds a basketball court.

Tupelo Parks and Recreation Director Alex Farned said his office will work with the city council to determine what would be best for the area, especially the two wards where Theron Nichols and Dot Cooper Kelly parks are located.

“I would be tickled to no end if we could have basketball in one of them,” he said. “Right now, we are having to borrow gyms from the school system and the Police Athletic League just to run our basketball program.”

Other uses could include a community center with meeting rooms and classes.

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Information from: Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, https://djournal.com


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