Some see plans to build a wind turbine at Greenbrook Elementary School as an opportunity for Hanover Park to be a pioneer in the area of alternative energy.
Others are just nervous.
Village President Rod Craig has been one of the more enthusiastic proponents of Keeneyville Elementary District 20’s idea, which aims to defray energy costs and cut carbon emissions.
Friday, though, the new mayor pulled the matter from consideration at the next village board meeting Thursday.
“We need to take a little more time to look at options and see what the turbine’s impact will be,” Craig said.
It’s a more cautious stance for Craig, who had called the wind turbine an innovative solution to “provide leadership for young people and ultimately save tax dollars.”
But District 20 officials might not be able to afford to slow down momentum.
The district secured a grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation that could ultimately fund 50 percent of the project. But before the foundation writes a check, it wants written assurance the village will allow a turbine on school grounds.
If that’s not secured by Dec. 1, the school loses the grant.
To avoid a last-minute scramble, District 20 asked the village for a decision by mid-September.
Craig “felt very strongly that the board could give us an answer either way by December or hopefully sooner,” said Gary Ofisher, District 20’s director of operations.
Getting the board to grant a permit is a laborious process. Thus squeezing in all the required research on the wind turbine’s potential impact, as well as drafting and passing zoning amendments and holding development commission meetings and public hearings, apparently will take longer than earlier thought.
“We’ve learned that a rush to judgment is usually a very bad idea,” Trustee William Manton said.
In the meantime, school officials are trying to keep the project on the front burner.
They held an informational meeting Monday for Greenbrook parents and nearby residents. Few showed up, even though Ofisher said mailings went out and PTO volunteers went door to door with fliers.
Still, he was happy with the results.
The “only quibble,” he said, was with the turbine’s height, which could be about 250 feet tall.
“There were a lot of questions,” he said, “but I thought everyone felt very comfortable with it.”
By Kimberly Pohl
14 July 2007
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