Tons of tornado debris clear, county cleanup continues through June 16

·2 min read

May 27—Recovery from the last tornado and preparation for the next one were the big items on the Calhoun County Commission's agenda Thursday morning.

The commission learned from county engineer Brian Rosenbalm that cleanup after the March 25 tornado in northeast Calhoun had yielded more than 200,000 cubic yards of debris in the 41 days since cleanup began.

"That's considerably more than what the unincorporated parts of the county encountered when the tornado went through Jacksonville," Rosenbalm told commissioners. "It has been a monster task."

Deadline to have debris hauled off by a county contractor for free is June 16, the county Emergency Management Agency announced in a news release Thursday afternoon. Debris needs to be sorted into piles and left on the right of way to be picked up. Debris sorting categories are household garbage, construction debris, vegetation debris, household hazardous waste, appliances and electronics, according to the EMA sorting guide. The agency recommends wearing gloves while moving debris, and encouraged sharing piles with neighbors.

Meanwhile, four new storm shelters are opening in Calhoun County, with money for a fifth approved during the meeting.

The commission approved hazard mitigation grant spending for a community safe room at 8812 Roy Webb Road in Piedmont, the newest tornado shelter to come from federal emergency money stemming from the March 2018 tornado in Jacksonville. Four other shelters — one each in Nances Creek, Cedar Springs, Wellborn and Williams — are officially opening, as well. Those shelters were available to use in March, listed as "safer place" alternatives to already-established storm shelters, but had yet to finish exterior construction and receive final approval.

The county will cover 25 percent of the $63,510 total for the Roy Webb Road shelter. EMA director Myles Chamblee said contractor bidding has already finished, so construction will start at the convenience of the builder.

During the meeting, the commission also:

— Extended its contract with Diversified Maintenance for highway department janitorial service by one year, through Aug. 1, 2022.

— Entered a three-year grant agreement with GSquared for aerial photography for the revenue office.

— Applied for $7,000 in grant money to buy new playground equipment for Blue Mountain Community Center.

Assistant Metro Editor Ben Nunnally: 256-235-3560.