CARTER COUNTY, OK -- After multiple tornadoes tore through Lone Grove months
ago, the need for community storm shelters became increasingly apparent. And
now the Oklahoma Legislature has made the first move toward making shelters
available. In a state with such violent weather everyone needs a place to seek shelter.
But in certain places like trailer home parks, it's difficult for each
resident to supply their own. So State Representative Pat Ownbey is getting
Oklahoma to help make it possible.
"It's something that we really need to do. After the Lone Grove tornadoes, it
was obvious that something needed to be done," said Ownbey.
The Oklahoma legislature approved on Friday the construction of a research
team to look into the cost-benefit analysis of supplying trailer parks with
storm shelters. And though the measure seems like an expense to the state,
there will be no cost for the research team's functions as they look into
every possible option in affording the shelters.
"We're going to look at anything and everything, and really try to find
something that will allow park landlords to buy shelters at a reduce price."
But not every mobile home park jumps at the chance to shelter their residents.
Clara Perkins has lived in the Lake Murray Mobile Home Park for three months
and says that every park should have had a shelter long ago.
"Of course we need a shelter, especially with all the kids. But I mean who
doesn't need a shelter, we live in Oklahoma," said Perkins.
Mobile homes are more susceptible to damage from strong storms given the
nature of their construction. And most of victims in the February Lone Grove
tornadoes lived in mobile homes and had nowhere to go.
"We don't have anywhere to go. I tried to get to the overpass but there were
people there, so I went to my sisters to wait it out.," said Perkins.
After conducting the research, Ownbey will write a bill in January for the
2010 legislative session, to be voted on next May. And even though it's a year
away, it couldn't come sooner.
"It's about time something was done to shelter our citizens," said Ownbey.
The statewide research will start in the next two weeks and will run as long
as it takes to get all the necessary information. Ownbey says that the most
likely outcome of the research will be a bill that supplies tax incentives for
trailer parks who purchase a storm shelter.