Some of that windiness felt at City Hall lately might be put to a good use: powering a city-owned building.
But neighbors around a Walnut Hills site where a wind turbine will be installed weren’t too happy about the choice.
“This will be flickering in my windows as it goes by everyday,” complained Fred Orth, a retired city worker and resident of Morris Street, near the proposed site of the 120-foot high turbine, which will have a 10-foot blade span.
“I am very upset that they are ramming this through.”
In December, Mayor Mark Mallory announced the turbine, along with solar panels, to be installed at the Cincinnati Park Board’s administrative office. It is part of his “Green Initiative” to try to get the city to use more renewable energy sources.
The tower would supply about 20 percent of the building’s electricity and be paid for from state and city funds.
The city said it didn’t have a cost estimate.
City officials admit they did not ask residents how they felt about having a giant propeller-like structure outside their windows.
“We do a lot of projects as a matter of routine. We didn’t think there would be an outcry,” said Cincinnati Park Board Superintendent Gerald Checco. “I didn’t think it would be a problem really. I am certainly thrilled that concerns were raised before we installed it.”
Some land-clearing for the turbine had already begun, but Checco ordered it stopped until he got more community input.
Orth, who worked in community development for the city, said he called a former co-worker who said he had approved the zoning permit “because city zoning regulations do not prevent turbines.”
“What was that from, the 1790 ordinance?” Orth asked.
City law is likely silent because, well, turbines haven’t really been an issue before, he said. “If the city wants to do something, they’ll do it,” Orth said.
He contacted Checco and explained his concerns, adding that he feels the city uses Morris Street and his Walnut Hills neighborhood as a “back door” dumping ground. As his proof, he cites the location of the park board’s maintenance facility and that nearby neighborhood tennis courts have been covered with mulch.
He had an idea: Put the turbine on the next hill over and virtually no one would have to see the device.
“Indeed, the solution (Orth) proposed is actually so much better. And better for the neighborhood and better for us. Hopefully everybody will agree,” Checco said.
Because of Orth’s efforts, residents will now have a say.
The Park Board will have a public meeting to discuss the turbine at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at its administrative offices, 950 Eden Park Drive.
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