So far, the wind farm is just a dirt field, a staging area to get a wind farm going. After that,
“We start with the roads and the foundations and then we’ll be bringing the turbine equipment,” said UPC Project Manager Chris Swartley.
That’s what’s next in Cohocton, where town leaders and developer UPC Wind have spent years preparing for the field of dirt.
“This has been a long, long process,” said Town of Cohocton Supervisor Jack Zigenfus.
“The town developed its own wind law, UPC did numerous environmental and interconnection studies. This is really the culmination of a long process,” Swartley said.
That long process has been scrutinized by a group of concerned residents.
“We are not against a wind farm in Cohocton, contrary to popular opinion. What we are for is the proper sitting of the windmills,” said Judith Hall, of Cohocton Wind Watch.
She says she wants to make sure the windmills go up a safe distance from the residences and a cemetery that dot Cohocton’s hills.
“It’s a very ill-thought-out project,” Hall said.
Town and state officials haven’t agreed and signed off on the project in recent weeks. But with lawsuits, some permits and construction pending, the dust…and dirt…haven’t settled. Town leaders say they will.
“At the end of the day, the people are going to realize a great benefit, especially locally, especially economically,” Zigenfus said.
The 50-odd turbines will bring the Town of Cohocton about $500,000 a year for at least 20 years. Town leaders say the benefits from that will extend to all area residents.
“We can lower debt–do away with debt–lower taxes, and create a better environment in which to live,” Zigenfus said, as well as an example for other towns preparing for their own field of dirt and some day, their own wind farm.
UPC officials say they hope to complete the Cohocton wind farm by early next year.
By: Kat De Maria
23 August 2007
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