Almost a year after the origination of the initiative, a weather siren for the Waynedale community has been approved to be installed within the next three months. The purchase order for the $25,983 siren has been placed, which includes a new siren, pole, and installation at Southwest Firehouse Station 1 (7001 Old Trail Rd). The Waynedale Business Chamber’s fundraising efforts will contribute $5,000 towards the overall cost, whereas the remaining $20,983 will be split between Allen County and The City of Fort Wayne.
According to NOAA the average time between the siren warning until a tornado hits is thirteen minutes. Without an audible signal, residents in Waynedale have had to rely solely on their phone or home weather radio for an alert; if they could afford it, know how to use it, have the ringer on loud and have immediate access to such technology. This leaves a dangerous and large margin of error that could be deadly for those visiting Waynedale public places such as parks, trails, sidewalks and green spaces; as well as at home and work. On the Homeland Security of Allen County website, there is a map that plots all existing sirens and their estimated effective range, but zooming into South Fort Wayne (Waynedale) and the surrounding area, it is blatantly apparent that the community is lacking siren coverage compared to almost all of the other parts of the city.
“This project serves as a beacon of security for those who live, work or enjoy the outdoors in our community. It is great to see the community and local government take action to revive the siren that once provided a layer of protection for Waynedale residents, visitors and employees.” Jordan Cornwell, Waynedale Business Chamber President continued, ”This is particularly beneficial during a time when the Bluffton Road sidewalks and trails are being installed, where there will be an increase in outdoor activity.”
The need for a siren was initiated by the Waynedale Business Chamber in June of 2016, who identified the lack of a siren as a safety concern for the community.
In July and August, the Chamber began collecting petition signatures from residents and/ or employees in the area, available online and at many local businesses who rallied for the cause. By the beginning of September over 1,700 petition signatures were collected.
The number of petition signatures in such a short amount of time signaled to the Waynedale Business Chamber’s ‘Weather Siren Committee’, which consists of Jordan Cornwell (Chamber President & Waynedale News – Sales), Alex Cornwell (Waynedale News – Publisher) and Loren K. Allison (Attorney) that immediate action needed to be taken to begin the process of working with local government to ensure swift action.
Working throughout the winter on the project, the Weather Siren Committee had discussions and meetings with representatives from various factions of both the City and County. However, no immediate decisive action was able to be taken because there was not a specific ‘path’ in place for a community or neighborhood to procure a siren. And as such, there is no set responsibility for either entity to be in charge for prioritizing an area of need or covering the cost of it. Overcoming the great challenge of ‘siren responsibility’ in early April, The City of Fort Wayne Mayor’s Office developed a plan that would ultimately be acceptable by all parties without setting a precedence for future siren installation procedures.
Significant benefactors of the Chamber’s $5,000 fundraising contribution include The Waynedale Lions Club ($2500), GMI Insurance ($1,100), Glosson Food Equipment ($1,000), as well as smaller community donations to make up the remaining amount.
Once the siren is installed, it will be under the management of Homeland Security of Allen County’s Director, Bernie Beier who commented, “Residents got involved by signing the petition to demonstrate a collective need for an outdoor emergency warning siren. This is exactly how government is supposed to work – the people govern. We in County and City government have an obligation to work together in serving our community. Sometimes working together is hard work – it takes strong servant leaders who are committed to their community first. We are fortunate to have many strong servant leaders here in Allen County – and strong leaders in the Waynedale community as well. Congratulations Waynedale on a job well done.”
Information about the Siren’s major donors and volunteers will be highlighted in upcoming Waynedale News issues. Also be on the lookout for more upcoming stories about the siren as well as further safety measures you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones in preparation for adverse weather.
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