Siren causes debate among residents

Bangor siren question to be put to referendum in April
Siren causes debate among residents

Many times, the sound of a siren means there is an emergency, but in the Village of Bangor it’s the sound of debate among residents.

The siren is located right downtown near the police station. Some say it even dates back to before World War II, and ever since then it has gone off four times a day.

Now some residents are saying it is too loud and they would like it to be shut off, but others say it’s part of the village’s history.

Deann Elliott has been owner of Country Style Beauty Salon for about five years, but she has lived in the Village of Bangor her whole life.

“I actually grew up a block down the street here on Commercial Street,” said Elliott.

It’s your typical small town, with almost 1,500 residents.

“Everybody knows everybody,” said Elliott.

“It’s a pretty quiet town,” said Steve Parr, a Bangor resident.

It’s pretty quiet until you hear the siren.

“It’s only four times a day and it’s only for a little bit,” said Parr.

“It’s been going on for years, since I can remember,” said Elliott.

Every day without fail, the Bangor siren goes off at 7 a.m., noon, 6 p.m. and again at 10 p.m.

“I look forward to hearing it because it keeps me on task and I know what time of the day it is without looking at a clock,” said Elliott.

Although many residents seem to rely on the siren, some believe it’s a nuisance.

“Couple of people said their dogs went wild when it went off. One person said it hurt her, it hurt her ears because it was so loud,” said John McCue, a member of the Bangor Village Board.

To get a better idea of how residents felt about the siren, the Village Board decided to shut the siren off for 90 days, but the shutoff only lasted about nine days.

“It was strange. In a way, it was like a ghost town,” said Elliott.

“We all had so much feedback to ‘why is it off, what is the matter?” said McCue. “I made the motion to turn it back on now and put it to referendum.”

So come April, residents will be asked to make a decision. Either turn off the siren completely or continue its decades-long tradition.

“I do wish for it to continue going off,” said Elliott.

“I’ll vote to keep it,” said Parr.

Right now, no one actually knows why the siren sounds at those specific times every day, although everyone has a theory.

At a meeting last week, the Bangor Village Board voted 6-1 to put an advisory referendum about the siren on the ballot in April.               

Bangor is the only village in La Crosse County that has a non-emergency siren go off four times a day.

However, West Salem also has a siren but that one only sounds once a day.