Lease to be presented for disaster training facility

WALNUT RIDGE, AR (KAIT) - After nearly two years of preparatory work for a plan to place a disaster training facility in Walnut Ridge, the lease of the requested property is soon to go before council for approval.

According to Debbie Persell, Arkansas State University professor of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management, she and Mayor Charles Snapp have been working to get the beginning steps completed for this project.

"We have been getting the lease ready and all terms ready for a lot of people who have to approve it," said Persell. "City council, airport commission and the board of trustees."

Persell said once these approvals are done, they can proceed with making this facility a reality.

"It is about giving hands-on exercises and training in a simulated environment where we can develop a training facility that would bring people together to learn how to practice in different scenarios," said Persell."

Persell said the land that they hope to occupy near the airport would be perfect for that type of training.

"It is a nice and flat land that provides an adequate number of acreage that could have multiple venues for scenarios such as one for an earthquake, tornadoes, flooding or disaster things such as that," said Persell.

Persell said she is very excited to have a lease ready to be presented for approval. Once that is done, they can begin grant writing for funds.

"I think it is such an illustration of collaboration and how the university works with the community for the betterment of region and state and so this is an exciting time and we are very hopeful for a great outcome on this project," said Persell.

The lease will be presented before Walnut Ridge City Council members Monday.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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