Waitsburg – City Council is considering bringing back the afternoon siren here.
City administrator Randy Hinchliffe said Waitsburg had long used such alarms, announcing the noon hour each day, before shutting down the practice a few years ago.
Now a resident asked about bringing back the alarm, according to the minutes of the city’s council meeting of June 15.
An alarm can also be used in an emergency.
Hinchliffe said the original purpose of the daily afternoon siren was to let workers in the city’s Old Canary know it was time to change shifts.
The use of the alarm ceased when officials at the dispatch center in nearby Columbia County, whose employees were responsible for operating the alarm, requested an end to the practice.
However, Hinchliffe told UB, the alarm can be reprogrammed so that it can be activated from the fire station.
The siren itself is located on top of the library, which was originally the City Hall building of Waitsburg.
The Waitsburg Commercial Club conducted a survey to get public opinion on the return of sirens.
“It’s been a few years since the daily siren went off, and in that time, many residents have moved to Main Street, and new businesses have opened along the Main Street corridor,” the survey’s introduction said. “There is concern that the siren could cause disruption to people’s homes or businesses.”
When UB tested the link to the survey on Monday, July 25, it was no longer working.
A new business two blocks downtown in this rural town is the Royal Block Hotel, owned by Joe Roberts and Tina Jatinen.
Roberts and Jatinan said they would like to know how loud the siren sounds before deciding whether they support its revival.
He also expressed concern that the sounding of lunch time alarms, similar to emergency alarms, could lead to confusion.
Those issues aside, though, both said they like the historical stuff about Waitsberg and feel that this blast from the past has the potential to be fun.
“If it’s going to be a fun, quirky thing that’s part of the aspect of Waitsburg, if it were like that, it looks like it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Roberts said. “If, on the other hand, it’s an annoying thing that’s waking people up or interfering with business, not so much.”
“We are all about (the city’s history),” Jatinan said. “We named this building Royal Block, its original name. That idea, we share that. That’s why it’s great. As long as it’s considered, how do we communicate it to everyone? How do you communicate with your guests?”