A small River Valley Town is getting a new community center that will double as a storm shelter thanks to several local politicians. All because of the 2011 tornado that nearly took Denning off the map.
U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John Boozman joining U.S. Representative Steve Womack announcing Monday that the town will receive a $35 thousand grant - coupled with a $182 thousand loan - to build a new city community center. The center will also be a tornado shelter - able to house 150 people - the new building will come complete with a kitchen, bathrooms, showers and even a backup generator.
Read the full press release here:
WASHINGTON D.C. - U.S. Senators Mark Pryor and John
Boozman, along with U.S. Representative Steve Womack (AR-3), today announced
that the City of Denning will receive assistance to build a new community
center, which will also serve as a tornado shelter, helping the city rebuild
structures destroyed by a tornado in 2011.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Office of Rural
Development last week approved a $35,000 grant and an $182,000 loan for the
project. The new community center will be a 1,600 square foot building that
will also serve as a tornado shelter for over 150 people. It will be complete
with a fully equipped kitchen, bathrooms with showers and a backup generator to
"Families in Denning have pulled together to
rebuild," Pryor said. "I'm pleased this financing will address a missing
piece in their recovery, allowing the community to build a place to hold
meetings and events and take cover during severe storms."
"These funds will help the community of Denning
continue to rebuild from the devastation caused by last spring's storms and
allow the city put the necessary infrastructure in place to provide safety for
citizens should tornados and violent storms strike again," Boozman
"This grant will help provide much needed assistance
to the Denning community as they continue to recover from last year's
devastating tornado," said Womack. "These funds will go toward a new
community center/tornado shelter for residents, ensuring safe refuge during
severe weather in the future."
On May 25, 2011, a tornado up to mile wide hit the small
Franklin County community of Denning. During the tornado, the Denning City
Hall, Water Department building, and numerous homes were destroyed. Two people
lost their lives in the storm.
In the immediate aftermath of the storm, the community
worked to replace infrastructure destroyed by the tornado. The city has
replaced the electrical lines that were lost and rebuild its Water Department
Building, which is now a 20 x 40 metal building. The town is currently using
that Water Department building to hold City Council meetings.