September 19, 2021

County purchases tornado siren for northwest Creston area

Union County Board of Supervisors approved the purchase of a tornado siren Monday for Dogwood Avenue, west of Creston, for $22,636. Supervisor Dennis Brown cast the only no vote.

Union County Emergency Management Director Jo Duckworth explained the approved Blue Valley’s bid is for a rotating siren as all other tornado sirens in Creston rotate. The feature is not a favorite for Duckworth.

“I’d like to get away from a rotating siren. It’s just one more thing to go wrong,” she said. “Birds get in there and build nest. It happens at Thayer and burns the motor up. Nothing wrong with any of the sirens. I just want to get away from rotating. We can’t test them during winter when cold, ice, snow, chance of burning up another motor.”

The bid includes a total replacement and installation. The county is expected to acquire a new pole. The siren does have a battery backup in case of a loss of electricity. All of the bids included a battery backup.

The siren in Lorimor is also from Blue Valley, located in Grain Valley, Missouri.

Duckworth said she had an interest in the bid from Frontline Warning Systems from Monticello, Minnesota. It is an omnidirectional siren and is solar powered.

“I was excited about that,” she said. “I’d love to have gone solar; it eliminates a monthly bill.” Duckworth said the drawback to the siren is it covers about half the distance of Blue Valley’s siren.

“I don’t think it covers the area we want it to cover. I don’t think we would be happy with this one,” she said.

Electronic Engineering’s bid did not includes as much as the other bids. Duckworth said the bid does not include pole or electrical work.

Century Siren of Canon City, Colorado had the highest bid of about $28,272, an omnidirectional siren including pole and electrical work. Brown cast his no vote after comparing the difference in cost for the county between Century Siren and Blue Valley, which is about $840.

The new siren is intended for the northwestern portion of Creston, and beyond.

Duckworth told the Union County Board of Supervisors earlier this summer a grant will help pay for a portion of a tornado siren to be installed along Dogwood Avenue, which intersects with Highway 25. The street is west of Greater Regional Health and McKinley Lake.

The $20,720 grant covers the pole, siren, infrastructure and back up power in case electricity to the siren is out. Duckworth said the grant and state will pay for 85% of the bill. The county is asked to pay 15%.

John Van Nostrand


An Iowa native, John's newspaper career has mostly been in small-town weeklies from the Rocky Mountains to the Mississippi River. He first stint in Creston was from 2002 to 2005.