Bagley breaking ground for tornado safe house soon


After massive storms furiously swept through the Bagley area on May 29, several campers were left overturned by the EF0 tornado that struck. Even though no one was hurt, David “Buck” Schott, Bagley Village President hopes to be proactive by developing a tornado shelter to protect area residents should another event like this occur. (Courier Press file photo)

By Caitlin Bittner
Although the stormy summer season will be coming to a close in September, the Bagley area is already working ahead on a project to develop a tornado shelter.

The $400,000 project will be funded by a grant from the federal government through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). With this grant, 75 percent of the project will be funded by the federal government, and the remaining 25 percent will be split between the state of Wisconsin and Bagley. “We applied for the grant a year and a half ago,” said David “Buck” Schott, village president.

“Over the years we’ve been applying for grants through emergency management in Grant County,” remarked Schott, who was happy to hear they had received the funding, especially in the wake of this year’s severe storms in May.
On Aug. 6, plans for the building were finally set, with bids for construction to follow in September. “At the end of October we’ll be having a ground breaking,” said Schott.

“It will be built to federal standards, which means it will be able to withstand 300 mph winds,” commented Schott. The safe house will also be 45 ft. by 40 ft., hold up to 250 people and include restrooms. Willow Lane will be home to the new concrete structure. Delta 3 in Platteville has been assisting in engineering the deal.

“It’s someplace to go for the people who have no basements. We have a lot of cabins, mobile homes and campers. I hope we never need it, but if it saves one life, it will be worth it,” Schott said.

Because Bagley’s share of the grant will total $50,000—$30,000 being paid out of pocket—Bagley is planning multiple fundraisers to assist with their part of the project funding.

“We’re on the right track,” said Schott, who noted that so far about $3,600 had been raised by the village, a third of which came from proceeds of the annual 4th of July events.

The first fundraiser will be a swiss steak lunch catered by Ma’s Bakery in Bloomington. The event will take place on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Bagley Community Center from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go toward the funding of the shelter.

The event will be put on by the local organization Neighbors Helping Neighbors, under the direction of chairman Nick Cushman and his wife Marilyn, the treasurer.

“It’s a group of citizens volunteering their time and talents for good causes,” Marilyn explained. Neighbors Helping Neighbors was the organization behind the fundraising of Bagley’s Veterans Memorial, which raised $40,000.

“This project was not in the budget, so we decided to get some fundraisers together,” commented Marilyn, hoping once again to have success raising money.

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