Medora marshal seeking funding to add tornado siren

MEDORA — If a tornado is near Medora, the town doesn’t have a siren to warn residents.

Town Marshal Jeff Walters is working to change that.

On Monday night, he told the town council he received a quote of $23,000 from Sentry Siren and already is pursuing funding options to get the cost covered.

“I have talked with a few of the businesses here in town — not all of them yet — but people are willing to help,” Walters said.

He first asked Jackson County Emergency Management Agency but was told it doesn’t have any funding right now. Walters said he also talked to Dan Davis with the Community Foundation of Jackson County, who suggested presenting a proposal through the Owen-Carr Township Community Fund for a grant.

There also is a grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture that would require some matching funds, and Walters was given Mike Kleinpeter’s contact information to see about him writing the grant for the town.

COVID-19 funds received by the town may be an option, too.

Walters said he talked to the county’s 911 board and learned it could take care of the equipment that hooks the siren up with the dispatch center at the Jackson County Sheriff’s Department in Brownstown, and Jackson County REMC would donate the manpower and a vehicle to set a pole outside the garage across from the school building on George Street.

“We have to buy (the pole), but we save $2,500 for buying a $400 pole and they put it up,” Walters said.

The tornado siren needs to be on the newest structure in the center of town, and Walters said the garage across the street from the school has everything needed, including power and battery backup inside. Once the siren is activated, it would be heard within a 1-mile radius, he said.

“When the power goes down, you have nothing here,” he said. “I just think it’s something that the town needs. Freetown has one. They don’t even have a school. You’ve got the kids (in Medora at the school). If somebody can give me a price of a life, then so be it. I’m just thinking of the people. I just think it’s good for everybody here. I’ll do whatever needs to be done.”

The three council members agreed a tornado siren is needed.

“I’m going to say personally, I think that yes, we do need one. I’ve seen storms come through and they even said on TV ‘People in Medora take cover,’ but a tornado siren didn’t go off. Whenever it comes to a tornado, seconds matter,” council President Jerry Ault.

“I say we could use it. You never known when you’re going to need it,” Councilman Jim Davers said.

Walters and town employee Steve Ingle both said when they checked on prices for a tornado siren in the past, the cost was in excess of $100,000. Walters described Sentry Siren as a “top-of-the-line name.”

He also noted that on Monday morning, a fire siren was placed on an interior wall at the town hall. The previous one had old wiring and was broken down. The new siren would be activated so volunteer firefighters could respond to a call.

Looking into both the tornado and fire sirens is another example of how Walters has taken charge since being named marshal.

“I’m very pleased with our marshal,” Ault said. “I’ve heard all kinds of good things. People are noticing more patrols, so I just wanted to say ‘Thank you.’”

Walters said new reserve officers have been added and are going through training, and the town will see even more police presence.

Other council matters

Ault was selected council president and Rhonda Freeman vice president for 2022.

Ault said a new sign is needed on the south side of town along State Road 235 to let motorists know they are within town limits. He will get three quotes for that.

He also said striping is needed on the roadway at the new four-way stops at Scott and David streets and Jackson and Main streets to help motorists as they get used to stopping in all directions.

Ault said work needs to be done on deep ditches around town and at a low-water crossing.

Due to lack of excess money, the council agreed to not apply for Community Crossings Matching Grant program funding this year and to wait to apply next year to “get more bang for our buck.”

Finally, town attorney Matt Lorenzo said an Americans with Disabilities Act transition plan needs to be completed. With a resolution and adoption of policies approved by the council in the past and having Ingle as the Title VI coordinator, the Indiana Department of Transportation said the town is compliant as far as getting a grant, but Lorenzo said the transition plan is needed. That will include ensuring the town hall and the sidewalks around town are accessible for everyone. Ault said he would help with that effort.