Belva Deer to be outfitted with storm siren

SIGOURNEY- Lake Belva Deer has seen many improvements over the past couple of years as the park has received grants and other funding sources to continue to complete the long worked on project. Soon, another piece of the puzzle will be placed when a major piece of safety equipment is installed at the park: an outdoor storm warning siren.

At the July 15 Keokuk County Supervisors meeting, the Supervisors met with Keokuk County Emergency Management Director Larry Smith to talk about the project. Smith said that this project has been a long time coming.

“We started this whole process a year-and-a-half ago. They have now issued the subaward agreement between Iowa Homeland Security Emergency Management Department and Keokuk County for the Belva Deer Park warning siren,” Smith said. “We have had preliminary approval all along but this is one step of the final process,” Smith said.

Smith noted that there are over 50 cabins/camp sites at Belva Deer, and most of those sites are occupied each weekend to the max.

“That doesn’t even include those on the lake,” Smith said, underscoring the need for a storm siren.

As part of the project, Keokuk County received a grant to help cover the costs of the storm siren. The grant included 75 percent federal funds, 10 percent state funds, with a 15 percent local match. In this case, the total award amount coming from the bid was $22,900. However, a contingency on receiving the funding was that the project be put out to bid. Two bids were received, with the lowest bidder being RC Systems, of Waterloo, for $23,000, meaning that the two bids came in slightly over the total financing package approved.

“Conservation is going to have to bump it up $100,” Smith said of the local match. “It is emergency management’s recommendation to accept the proposal for $23,000.”

For more on this story and others, catch the July 17 edition of the News-Review.