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DePue still waiting on sirens

DEPUE – DePue continues what seems an endless wait for the review of a grant survey for its tornado siren project.

On Monday, village engineer Aaron Full explained to the village board the survey submitted in November to Springfield hadn’t yet been looked at, and no timeline was available for its completion.

The survey must be reviewed before the village can be guaranteed the $100,000 grant that was awarded three years ago to replace the old mechanical siren system.

Full said the village could start the project but expressed concern that if for some reason the state would  fall through on their funding, the village would be “on the hook” for the money.

Village President Eric Bryant said he wasn’t comfortable with starting the project without the survey being reviewed.

At the village board’s request, Full presented information on the recent electric-style siren Magnolia recently purchased and installed in the village. The siren model showed an example of one that would also work in DePue.

The model, made by Whelen Engineering, is estimated at $20,000 per siren. Full said although there are multiple types of electric-style sirens, his recommendation would be to go with the Whelen model.

“The specific model is pretty nice in the fact that it requires a lot smaller electrical service than other models I’ve looked at,” he said. “It actually operates off of a battery, and the only electrical charge is the trickle charge that keeps the battery powered. So if you were to lose power, the siren would still work.”

Full’s only concern with the model is the birdhouse-like appearance.

“My concern would be that birds would want to nest it in,” he said.

Board member Roger Harrison explained how easy it would be to build a stainless steel cage around the siren before it was erected. Other members suggested to activate the siren once a week to keep birds out.

Harrison said based on the coverage area of the siren sound, it might make sense to purchase four sirens instead of the board’s original decision to purchase three. At an estimated cost of $20,000, the village would be able to afford the extra siren.

Full said he would start looking at specifications for bids and would get the process rolling to see how much the actual project cost would come to, so when the grant survey is finally reviewed, the village will be ready “shovel in hand.”

In other business, the board:

• Approved DePue Chief of Police Michael West to interview applicants for a part-time policeman. The board will have to give final approval for the hiring of an eligible applicant.

• Suggested the school’s soccer teams use the Memorial Park field to practice and play.

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