Whistle may return

Mayor proposes return of unique timepiece

Just as the streets of Granville had not heard the chimes of the Veterans Memorial Clock in many years, the mayor proposed the return of another unique timepiece to Granville Monday night.

Mayor Jay Niles asked the board if there was interest among the board members in bringing back the noon whistle.

“I think it’s a nostalgia thing,” Niles said regarding the requests he receives from residents on a regular basis to bring back the whistle.

“Having the clock in place makes people feel good and I think for some reason people just like knowing when it’s noon,” Niles said.

Most board members had a positive reaction to the proposal.

Board member Frank Caruso said he agreed with the nostalgic aspect of bringing the siren back, saying it was one of the sounds from his youth, like train whistles, he thought would be nice to have back.

“I’d kind of like us to look into that provided it’s not too obnoxious,” Caruso said, calling it part of the character of the town.

“I get plenty of sirens where I live,” board member Dean Hyatt quipped, adding he was interested in further investigation.

The noon whistle once sounded the middle of the day on a daily basis in the village from a large horn mounted atop the former village hall.

The question to ask, Niles said, is would it be useful to the village now?

Village Clerk Rick Roberts said the horn finally went silent in 1998 when the building was sold to by the village.

The physical horn itself was sold several years ago, officials said.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Dan Williams said given the age and condition of the old horn he was certain new technology could accomplish the task with much less hassle and much more efficiently.

Niles said he has been approached by enough residents expressing an interest in the return of the mid-day horn he decided it was something the village board should at least discuss bringing back.

Niles said Granville Village Fire Chief Russell Bronson agreed the horn could have some civil defense or public safety uses. Bronson said he is looking at the possible emergency uses of the horn.

Bronson is currently looking into what it would take to return the whistle to Granville.

The cost of returning the whistle is not known at this point and would figure heavily in future discussions of its return, officials said.

In the past the horn sounded not simply at noon but also to alert firefighters in the days before beepers and cell phones to a fire. The horn could possibly be used as a signal for major public safety issues that require the attention of all of the people in the village for natural disasters or the need to evacuate or move to shelters.

Although Niles said he was not certain what kind of reaction he would get from the village board or the public at large, he said one thing he was sure of is the horn would not be returning to its original location – the top of the old village hall.

The former village hall is now the home of Gwen and George Schneider and is out of the question.

The current village hall is also out of the question, Niles said, because the idea is to locate any possible new horn to someplace where it would not be blasting in someone’s back yard or bedroom.

“As long as we can place it where it won’t bother people or become a nuisance … we would not place it where it was before for sure,” Niles said.

Niles said possible locations for a new horn could be the water tank on Braymer Mountain or somewhere on the water treatment or wastewater treatment plants.

Niles said the village is seeking input on both the return of the horn and potential locations. “This is only in the discussion phase; we’re seeking input from the public,” Niles said. Those who wish to comment can reach the village via e-mail at granville@roadrunner.com with “noon whistle” or “fire siren” in the subject line.

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