GC council agrees to upgrade tornado sirens

It is tornado season and the City of Grove City wants to be prepared.

At its May 5 meeting, Grove City Council unanimously passed an ordinance to move $23,000 from the general fund for outdoor warning siren upgrades.

Grove City Service Director Darryl Hughes told council that four sirens needed replacement parts, not because they were not working, but to give the sirens extra life. The upgrades will add about 20 years or service to the current sirens.

Jackson Township has agreed to reimburse the city for upgrades to the siren on State Route 665, near Borror Road.

The city has a total of nine outdoor sirens. They are located at Hoover and Yates, Hoover and Gershwin, Hoover and Cloverleaf, Cleveland and Curtis (near the race track), Buckeye Parkway (near the Pinnacle), Zuber and Borror, Hibbs (by Hennigans Grove), Orders and Cloverleaf (at Fryer Park), and Jackpot and Thrailkill.

Hughes explained that he plans to ask council for an additional siren later this year. He said there are two areas that have dead spots, or the range does not get to everyone. One is in the Southeast section of the city, near Buckeye Parkway and the other is in the Southwest, near Central Crossing High School.

Each siren is estimated to cover a radius up to one mile, depending on weather conditions.

The Franklin County Emergency Management Agency says residents should purchase a weather radio and design a tornado plan and find a safety shelter. That shelter could be a storm cellar, basement or lowest level of a building. If the structure does not have a basement, the county says to go to an inner hallway or a smaller inner room without windows, such as a bathroom or closet.

According to city-data.com, two large twisters have hit close to Grove City.

In February 1971, a category three (wind speeds between 158-206 miles per hour) tornado touched down just 12 miles from Grove City. It injured seven people and caused a minimum of $500,000 in damage. In April 1974, a category five (wind speeds between 261-318 miles per hour) tornado hit 36 miles away from the city. The storm killed 36 people and injured 1,150. It caused at least $50 million in damage.

The outdoor warning sirens alert residents not only to tornado warnings, but also hazardous and emergency situations.

In other news

•Council passed an ordinance to appropriate $58,000 from the recreational development fund to remodel the Gantz Park Herb Garden.

The fencing and decking in the gardens need repair due to weather and general wear and tear. Everything made out of lumber will be replaced by a composite lumber made from recycled materials. The Solid Waste Authority of Central Ohio (SWACO) granted the city $5,000 for the project.

City Administrator Sharon Reichard said it is a good investment.

"People come from far and wide to see the gardens," said Reichard. "We have to keep them up."

The project also includes the expansion of garden sprouts.

•The Big Splash is scheduled to open on May 24. Kim Conrad, director of Grove City Parks and Recreation said they are planning a dedication for the new slide the first weekend in June.

Grove City Mayor Richard "Ike" Stage said he would be one of the first people down the slide, if the community raised at least $500 for the Grove City Food Pantry. The community has raised that money.

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