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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Macon-Bibb’s downtown weather tower is looking at some serious repairs and may soon be coming down all together after Tuesday’s commission meeting.
“We have some sirens in our system that were installed in the 1950’s,” said EMA Director Spencer Hawkins.
The tower that’s been there since the mid 70’s is what Macon-Bibb EMA uses to send a signal to the 56 sirens spread across the county when there’s a severe weather alert. According to county officials, it has several issues mounting, and so are the costs to fix them.
“It’s like any large piece of equipment that’s in disrepair, it can break it can cause damage,” he said.
For years, it’s been the community’s cue to seek shelter. But fast forward to today, Macon-Bibb County’s weather broadcast tower in downtown is in need of some major fixes.
“There’s significant corrosion to some of the support beams, some of the support arms are bent, there was a void or cavity found underneath the tower and it is improperly grounded as well,” Hawkins told 41NBC.
They’re fixes that county officials have since approved through the use of SPLOST funding.
“We work with a local company to maintain that and we have an annual maintenance cost to maintain the system but on top of that we have to buy parts as well,” he explained.
But Hawkins says those parts have to be custom made because they’re no longer sold at most places.
“That sometimes can take time and can be expensive,” he continued.
With repairs becoming more and more costly, emergency management officials are exploring options to build a new tower elsewhere.
“We have a potential option over at Breezy Hill which would be about $125,000 for first initial estimates,” he said.
In the meantime, they’re encouraging residents to use the county’s other available storm alert sources and making the necessary repairs where needed.
“Utilizing MBC Alert, weather radio, television local media,” Hawkins added.
He says taking the old tower down would cost around $60,000 alone in addition to the $125,000 that would go to building the new one. But Macon-Bibb EMA is working alongside the county’s IT department and SPLOST manager to find cost efficient options.