I was really happy today to be able to attend the groundbreaking for a new and unique community/storm shelter in the Highland Manor Mobile Home Community. The Highland Manor Mobile Home Community is located on the city's south side off of Moorland Road.
This unique shelter will serve the residents of mobile home community with needed safe shelter during tornados and high wind events as well as providing the community a reservable park shelter.
This shelter exemplifies the mission of a partnership between the federal government, through FEMA, and the city to provide a safe space for residents in a challenged neighborhood. Safety should not be determined by zip code. I am grateful for the involvement of staff, Alders and residents in making this a reality to provide safety in a storm and also a gathering place for residents of Highland Manor.
Former Alderperson Tim Bruer, along with Dane County Emergency Management's David Bursack identified a need for a storm shelter in this area several years ago. However, it wasn't a tornado or wind event that provided the FEMA grant opportunity, but rather, the blizzard of January 31- February 2, 2011 (a.k.a. Groundhog's Day Blizzard) that dumped record amounts of snow throughout the region prompting a Presidential Declaration of Disaster.
After such declarations, FEMA disaster mitigation funds become available on a competitive basis to the affected states. With the assistance of the Wisconsin Emergency Management Division (WEM) , Madison applied for these funds. One of WEM's priorities for Wisconsin is construction of storm shelters or 'safe rooms' to protect residents of mobile homes from tornadoes and other high wind events.
The Community/Storm Shelter at Highland Manor Mobile Home Community will provide safe shelter during extreme wind events. The shelter will be available for the public to use for gatherings such as family or neighborhood picnics or parties.
In 2015 the adjacent City park will also include a playground and half basketball court.
Alder Strasser, former Alder Bruer and I were joined today by plenty of residents of Highland Manor as well as city and county staff and those from Miron Construction, Wisconsin Emergency Management, Assemblage Architects and Uniprop, the owners of Highland Manor.
As I told those in attendance today, I look forward to the ribbon cutting next year.