By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The city will install a tornado siren near Itawamba Community College’s Tupelo campus thanks to a grant from the Mississippi Emergency Management Agency.
MEMA will pay more than half the costs associated with the $20,757 project, according to the grant document approved Tuesday by the City Council.
Tupelo will contribute $9,507 toward the purchase and installation of the equipment.
It will be installed at the corner of Veterans and Eason boulevards and have a noise radius of about one mile. It will be heard by students, staff and faculty at ICC, as well as the people at least two nursing homes, several clinics, numerous businesses and more than 420 households in the area.
“They’ll actually hear the thing back toward the hospital area, behavioral health and the women’s clinic because of the contour of the land,” said Tupelo Water & Light Manager Johnny Timmons, whose department is heading the project.
It’s the first new siren for Tupelo since 2010, when it had erected eight in previously unincorporated areas of the city. It brings the total number of sirens to 16.
The grant contract requires the city to install the siren no later than June 2013, but officials hope to have it up by late October or early November, said the city’s grant administrator Terri Blissard.
In addition to the sirens, Tupelo and Lee County residents also are covered by a weather alert system that sends telephone messages to those in the path of severe weather. That system went live in January.