Pitt County seeks grant to pay for emergency shelter

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — Brian Weatherly knows the importance of shelters. For part of his life, he lived in Florida and experienced the harsh realities of hurricane season.

“I’ve gone through plenty of hurricanes and not had nowhere to go,” said Weatherly. “Been stuck with no power, not knowing what you’re going to do.”

That’s why Pitt County commissioners voted earlier this week to move forward with a proposed new emergency shelter and recreational facility, which can house residents in case of a hurricane or tornado.

“This would be designated up front as an emergency shelter, whereas usually, it’s a secondary or tertiary use for some of our other facilities out there,” said James Rhodes, director of planning and development.

Rhodes said a stand-alone shelter can benefit the county.

“An emergency shelter that’s not located on a school property would be instrumental after Hurricane Matthew,” Rhodes said. “We also saw the need of consolidating emergency shelters.”

The shelter could cost the county and tax payers $6 million, which is why leaders are applying for a hazard mitigation grant.

“You never know how important a shelter could be for your environment around you until it’s absolutely needed,” said Weatherly.

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