Greene County to improve tornado sirens with federal COVID relief funds

The Greene County commissioners approved just over $121,000 for upgrades to the county’s tornado sirens Thursday. FILE

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The Greene County commissioners approved just over $121,000 for upgrades to the county’s tornado sirens Thursday. FILE

XENIA — Greene County will upgrade its tornado sirens and is seeking contractors for state-financed demolition and revitalization projects.

Commissioners approved about $200,000 for the latest slate of American Rescue Plan Act projects, including just more than $121,000 for upgrades to the county’s tornado sirens. The upgrades will connect the sirens to the National Weather Service, so that the sirens will more efficiently trigger when severe weather is in the area.

That task for now falls to emergency dispatchers, who manually trigger tornado sirens in a given jurisdiction. These upgrades will allow dispatchers more freedom to do their jobs during emergency situations, county administrator Brandon Huddleson said.

“The project will upgrade all the sirens managed by the county to the proper platform so the National Weather Service, when they have a tornado warning in say, Jamestown, it automatically sets that siren on,” Huddleson explained.

The upgrades are only for tornado sirens administered by Greene County dispatch, primarily in Xenia, Jamestown, Cedarville and unincorporated areas and wouldn’t affect sirens served by Beavercreek or Fairborn.

Additional ARPA expenditures approved Thursday included $75,000 for the Riding Center in Yellow Springs to help it secure a long-term lease with Glen Helen and up to $10,000 for local firefighters to participate in a November conference hosted by the Brothers Helping Brothers Project.

Greene County has also been awarded $500,000 from the Ohio Department of Development’s Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program for demolition of three commercial buildings and five residential properties, with a $550,000 local match provided by the commercial property owners, according to county documents. Interested demolition and asbestos abatement contractors should sign up on the county’s website.

Greene County has committed a large portion of its $33 million in ARPA funding, including about $9.6 million for expanding broadband internet and $10 million in “revenue replacement” for funds that are going toward a new county jail. Commissioners have also funded upgrades to the Greene County library, allocated funds for supplementing COVID contact tracing in schools, and $250,000 in consulting.

The county has approximately $3 million in ARPA funds remaining to be allocated, which commissioners have said previously may be put into additional nonprofit grants. All funds must be spent by 2026.

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