HJ - Rapp Park Storm Shelter 2

Page County Conservation Board agreed to further research the needs to finish a building at Rapp Park that was intended to be a storm shelter. The building does not meet storm shelter specifications and the board may use the facility for storage. Conservation board members will also research the cost of a prefabricated storm shelter building. (photo courtesy of Page County Conservation)

Page County Conservation Board agreed to research finishing a building that was intended to be a storm shelter at Rapp Park and to find an actual storm shelter.

During the board’s special meeting Wednesday, Oct. 23, Conservation Executive Director John Schwab said he was informed by a person working on the building he did not have the finances or knowledge to finish the job.

“Doug felt obligated to Charly (to work on the building),” Schwab said about Doug Wright, who was hired by DR Construction to work on the storm shelter.

Charly Stevens is an employee of county conservation.

Schwab said Wright told him DR Construction of Bedford has since dissolved. A year ago, the conservation board approved a $17,960 bid from DR Construction to build the shelter. According to county records, about $13,000 has already been paid.

Schwab said the building won’t meet FEMA guidelines for a storm shelter. He said 12-inch walls are needed but the facility has 8-inch walls. The entrance door does not meet storm-shelter specifications. Bathrooms are required for the shelter and they are not part of the building.

“It might be cheaper to knock it over and start from scratch,” Schwab said.

The conservation board discussed how the building could be finished and used as a storage unit for conservation materials.

Allan Jordan, husband of conservation board member Kathy Jordan, was at the meeting and said the building can still be finished. Allan, who has his own construction business, said he was at the meeting only to provide his opinion and is not interested in finishing the project.

County officials were interested in having a storm shelter after a 2017 storm upset campers at a Taylor County park.

Conservation board members will research the cost and options for a FEMA approved, prefabricated storm shelter. Including bathrooms will increase the cost of construction. The board will also review its budget for funding and look for related grants.

Schwab informed the Page County Board of Supervisors of the issue during its meeting Tuesday, Oct. 22.

“No way can it be modified to be a storm shelter,” he told the supervisors. “It will be a storage shed.”

County officials are using legal counsel about the issue.

In other county news…

Page County Engineer J.D. King said Godbersen-Smith Construction of Ida Grove had a bid of $1,729,227 to replace the A Avenue bridge north of Shenandoah. The bid has not yet been approved. It was the lowest of four bids by about $17,000. King said preliminary work on the bridge could begin this winter.

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