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Clay County to improve local storm shelter to make room for more evacuees

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Updated: 6/02/2013 12:10 am
GREEN COVE SPRINGS, Fla. -- The storm shelter at Montclair Elementary will be getting improvements done thanks to a state grant.

According to Clay County Emergency Management, the county currently does not have the capacity to provide shelter for about 3,000 people. County leaders are confident that number will drop significantly once the improvements are made to Montclair Elementary located in Orange Park.

"We got $83,000 to work on Montclair Elementary and harden that facility which would include putting shutters around the outside," said John Ward, Deputy Director of Clay County Emergency Management.

According to Ward, even with the improvements made to Montclair Elementary they still won't have enough room for everyone so he encourages families to have a plan.

"People generally don't like being at a shelter because they don't have all the needs and all the wants they normally have. We try to encourage them to take shelter at a family's location," said Ward.

There are a total of 13 shelters in Clay County. The first ones to open in case of a significant threat are Tynes Elementary, Keystone Heights, Clay and Orange Park High Schools.

The county also gets help from local churches and the Red Cross.

"We're always told it's gonna be a busy season but it only takes one storm to make your season a bad season," said Ward.

According to Ward, they hope to finish improvements at Montclair Elementary by this fall. The walls at Orange Park High School have also been reinforced in order withstand hurricanes.


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