Saturday, October 21, 2000

Xenia gets anti-twister aid

$100K in federal funds to help build safer homes

By James Hannah
The Associated Press

        XENIA — One month after a deadly tornado tore through this southwest Ohio city, the federal government on Friday pledged to contribute $100,000 to help the town build stronger homes, which will include safe rooms.

        It is the first time a city has been accepted into the federal program, called Project Impact, as a direct result of a community's response to a disaster.

        Since the Federal Emergency Management Agency created the program in 1997 with a goal of lessening the impact of disasters, more than 200 communities nationwide have joined.

        Rep. David Hobson, R-Ohio, announced Xenia's acceptance into the program in the parking lot of the Dayton Avenue Baptist Church, which was heavily damaged in the Sept. 20 tornado that cut through this city about 15 miles east of Dayton.

        The tornado killed one person, injured about 100, and did more than $40 million in property damage, destroying or damaging 307 homes and 25 businesses. It followed a path parallel to the April 3, 1974, tornado that hit Xenia and southwest Ohio, killing 33 people.

        The city will receive $100,000 from Project Impact, money that will be used to attract additional funds to build safe rooms and other disaster-resistant features in buildings, said Dick Kimmins, spokesman for the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.

        Safe rooms have reinforced walls and are anchored to a building's foundation in order to with stand high winds. They usually cost between $2,000 and $4,000.

        Homeowners and others wanting to build safe rooms can apply to receive the federal money.

        The city has decided to build a safe room at the heavily damaged Greene County Fairgrounds and at the city garage. The city also is requiring new and rebuilt homes to have hurricane straps, which anchor the roof to the walls.

        Four other Ohio communities and counties already are in the Project Impact program: Licking and Medina counties; Colerain Township in Hamilton County and the Columbus suburb of Westerville.


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- Xenia gets anti-twister aid
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