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Griffin Park to Get Storm Shelter
By the end of this year, Griffin Park will have a storm shelter. The $600,000 structure which will also feature a community room is thanks to a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the South Dakota Office of Emergency Management.
The 2,400 square foot structure will be located in Griffin Park between the tennis courts and Washington Avenue. That makes it large enough to protect up to 400 people, and it will be built to withstand 200 mph winds. It will be the first fully protected shelter in the Pierre parks system.
More than 1,800 people live within about a half a mile of the shelter location.
“Major public gathering points like the swimming pool, Hyde Stadium and our public beaches are also within a half a mile radius,” said Tom Farnsworth, Director of Parks and Recreation. “This shelter will provide safety for those folks who might otherwise be left vulnerable during a summer storm.”
Farnsworth says that even when there isn’t severe weather, the public will benefit from the new structure.
“We consistently hear from our campground users and our park users that they’d like showers, three-season restrooms and protected picnic space in Griffin Park,” said Farnsworth. “Now we can provide all of those amenities to our users.”
The shelter will include bathrooms, showers, and a large community room with a kitchenette. The public will be able to rent the community room.
Farnsworth, says that the federal and state dollars will cover a little more than 80% of the project. The City will pay for the remainder.
“If this structure was strictly a storm shelter, the grants would cover 95% of the cost,” said Farnsworth. “However, the Commission decided to make this a multifunctional facility which boosts the local match a little bit.”
The facility design is expected to be complete this summer.