BEAUMONT — Jefferson County Judge Jeff Branick says the county hopes to use hazard mitigation grant money to possibly build a domed shelter and strengthen other facilities used in disaster response.
On Monday, commissioners voted unanimously to apply.
"We have filed a notice of intent with the Texas Division of Emergency Management to utilize some of the hazard mitigation funding for primarily, three issues. One would be a sheltering facility, a dome type facility that could be multi-use,” Branick said.
Branick adds that the dome could cost $4 million.
The county would have to match $1 million which could come from community development block grant funds and possibly a school district partner.
It’s not known where the dome could be located.
According to a county document, the structure will be used as a shelter for first responders and key local government officials.
It’s similar to how the Lumberton ISD Performing Arts Center was used during Tropical Storm Harvey.
“It was a life saver for the resources that were sent to the Lumberton area by the State. The National Guardsmen, their equipment, and many other recovery supplies were staged at that facility under the direction of Mayor Surratt,” Hardin County Judge Wayne McDaniel said.
Beaumont resident Sunni Farren thinks the shelter could be useful.
"I think it's a great idea specifically for the shelter part of it, I know a lot of the shelters filled up very quickly, and they weren’t equipped with enough supplies," Farren said.
Judge Branick says that part of the hazard mitigation fund will also go towards hardening facilities including Jack Brooks airport and Ford Park.
Branick estimates the funds could trickle down to the county in the fall of 2018.