WASHINGTON, D.C. -- The Director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) today congratulated Salt Lake City for its commitment to leverage state and federal mitigation funds with a local bond measure. The bond measure would support the rebuilding of Salt Lake City schools to a higher seismic standard.
"If this bond measure passes, Salt Lake City will be on the forefront of communities maximizing state and federal funds with local commitments," said James Lee Witt, FEMA's Director. "Rebuilding these schools will enhance the safety of thousands of children. It's exactly the kind of far-sighted approach that communities have to take to become disaster resistant."
Salt Lake City is one of 118 communities designated by FEMA as a Project Impact community. Project Impact: Building Disaster Resistant Communities is a FEMA initiative designed to bring all segments of a community together to identify their risks, develop risk reduction plans and initiative safeguards before disaster strikes. Under Project Impact, Salt Lake City is receiving $300,000 in federal grants to help reduce the affects of future flooding or earthquakes. Of that, the school district is receiving $23,000 for school retrofits.
"It's vitally important that school structures be safe," said Witt. "When you consider the peace of mind for parents and the possibility of children's lives saved by such seismic construction, it's money extremely well spent."
The $136 million school bond measure, to be voted on May 4, would allow Salt Lake City schools to be built to Uniform Building Code Seismic Level 4, rather than the currently required Seismic Level 3.
Rick Weiland, Director of FEMA's Region 8, which includes Utah, also applauded Salt Lake City's efforts.
"This is another example of the leadership that this community has shown in seismic safety," he said. "The base isolation of the Salt Lake City and County building was one of the first in the nation."