Tornado siren testing to occur weekly

BOW addresses items related to the past
By Merrie Chapman
NAPPANEE — Residents who are used to hearing the city tornado sirens sound off in testing one Monday each month are advised that testing will now occur every Thursday at 2 p.m. Change from the monthly test system, to the newer weekly testing, will begin Nov. 1. The Nappanee Board of Works and Public Safety announced the change Oct. 8.
“There was nothing wrong with our monthly testing (system),” said Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson, “we just decided weekly testing would be in the best interest of our residents.”
The decision to begin the weekly testing comes on the five-year anniversary of the F3 tornado that tore through the city. No lives were lost but the city suffered destruction throughout the southern and eastern borders.
Following the tornado an annual “Rescue Harvest” was started in the community. Each fall city workers bring around collection bags to each home. This year those were distributed Oct. 12.
Residents were asked to fill the bags with non-perishable items and return them to the curb for pickup the following week. This year collections occurred Oct. 16. All items collected were distributed to local families through local food pantries.
Donations are taken to Nappanee Open Door, located inside the Nappanee Train Depot, 200 block of S. Main St., and one located inside Family Christian Development Center, 151 S. Locke Street, Nappanee. Also as a result of the success of rebuilding following the F3 tornado five years ago, Board of Works members took a look at preventable deteriorating properties within the community. Changes were made to the NSP3 Policy Procedures Manual/Developers Agree-ment to better define conditions leading to declaration of “blighted” properties.
Board of Works followed through on tackling this important issue by declaring homes located at both 502 E. Walnut St., and 407 S. Main St., as blighted.
Zoning Administrator, Don Lehman; Mayor Thom-pson; and City Attorney, Brian Hoffer, were all in agreement that this measure would allow legal action to be taken to ensure cleanup of the properties. An estimated $177,594 is budgeted for local property cleanup and development. Board members noted that just over one million dollars — provided through governmental grants — would be available to cover that cost and other such properties needing similar attention. Plans acceptable on use of that money, and the properties to be affected remain to be determined.
The Nappanee Board of Public Works and Safety meets at 3:30 p.m., the second and fourth Mondays of each month, inside the Nappanee City Hall, located at 300 W. Lincoln St.. Meetings are centered around financial operations of the city. Local residents are invited to attend.