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USDA Community Facilities Funds Available to Help Indiana Communities Obtain Tornado Warning Sirens

Do you live in a rural community without a tornado warning siren?

“Right now we have money. We can help as many [communities] as come to us,” said Phil Lehmkuhler, Indiana’s rural development state director for the United States Department of Agriculture.

Lehmkuhler is referring to millions of dollars in Community Facilities funds that USDA allocates to Indiana and other states annually. It is intended to help small towns – those with fewer than 20,000 residents – pay for important building projects, and grants and loans available through the program can be used to purchase new tornado sirens.

In recent years, the program has been used in Indiana to purchase sirens only once.

In 2007, the Town of Silver Lake in northern Indiana used USDA community facilities grants to purchase two outdoor warning sirens.

“The sirens were only in for three or four days before we had to set them off because of a tornado warning,” said Silver Lake town marshal Craig Hollopeter. “Small communities like us; we don’t have the funds for something like this. There is no way this community would have been able to afford it.”

“I was surprised to see there are so many towns that don’t have any sirens at all,” Lehmkuhler said. “We want communities to know they can contact us and we can help you … one community at a time, that’s what we’ll try to do.”

A tornado warning siren similar to the ones provided to the Town of Silver Lake.

A tornado warning siren similar to the ones provided to the Town of Silver Lake.


5 Responses to “USDA Community Facilities Funds Available to Help Indiana Communities Obtain Tornado Warning Sirens”

  1. Thank you for the sensible critique. Me & my cousin were just preparing to do a little research about this. We got a book from our local library but I think I learned more from this post. I am very glad to see such magnificent information being shared freely out there..

  2. Shari Harrington says:

    Are there still funds available for severe weather sirens? I am an EMA director and was wondering.
    Thanks,
    Shari

  3. Russ Blais says:

    Are there funds available in 2016 for weather alert sirens? Doing some research on what funding is available. We do not have a siren in our area.

  4. Ben [USDA Moderator] says:

    Russ Blais – Hello Russ, USDA’s Community Facilities Direct Loan and Grant program has invested in weather alert sirens before, these systems are essential to the safety of rural communities. The best way to get started is to reach out to your local USDA Rural Development Office. A Community Program Specialist will be able to help you understand the eligibility requirements and application process regarding your community’s specific needs. Thank you for reaching out.

  5. Russ Blais says:

    Your response is appreciated. I will check with our local office.

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