Taxpayer money will turn Star Complex into a hurricane shelter

Many neighbors in Dunbar took a risk during Hurricane Irma as they decided not to evacuate. Part of the problem, they said, was a lack of convenient options.

“There was no close shelter to us,” said Eddie Jackson, a neighbor. “We didn’t have a close shelter for this Dunbar community.”

“I do think there weren’t too many options,” said Stacy Wiley, a neighbor.

The city plans to make upgrades to the Stars Complex so it can be used safely as a hurricane shelter. It is just steps away for dozens of families.

The cost is still to be determined. The project could take up to five years for it to be completed. The plan includes adding a 15,000 sq. ft. hurricane proof building.

Councilperson Johnny Streets said they will also get generators.

“You don’t want people leaving their homes thinking they’re going somewhere safe and they probably could have been better off at home than here,” Streets said.

But this project goes beyond disaster preparedness. It also means updating a complex that is already renovating the multipurpose field on Prince St. that will accommodate 250 kids.

“We’re grateful that we’re finally getting around to the things that the community’s been asking for for years,” Streets said.

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