EMDEN – The people affected by a future wind farm in Tazewell and Logan counties had a chance Tuesday night to meet employees of Horizon Wind Energy and ask tough questions about the giant turbines going up in their backyards.
The small, serious crowd of visitors to the Emden Community Center’s basement brought to the informal meeting a mix of optimism and skepticism.
Horizon Wind Energy, which already has a wind farm in McLean County, is planning to build another wind farm that will stretch from Emden in Logan County to Delavan in Tazewell County.
“I don’t like it. It ain’t gonna be win-win for me,” said Gene Aper.
Aper’s home is going to be surrounded by wind turbines. Aper said he has talked to real estate agents who told him that his property value will go down 10 to 20 percent because of the nine wind turbines that will be visible from his front door.
Clearly upset about the wind farm, Aper sat alone with his arms folded while his wife asked a representative from Horizon questions about the project.
That representative was Marie Streenz, a project coordinator for the proposed wind farm. She said that most people have asked her questions about the noise.
Bill Barnes, a property owner from the Emden area, said he looks forward to seeing the “majestic” wind turbines line the rural horizon.
“I’ve always been for it,” said Barnes, who sat at a table with coffee in hand.
Barnes is not concerned with losing the property value of his home. “Everybody’s saying oil is so high, we got to do something. Here’s an opportunity to do something.”
Barnes came to the informal question and answer meeting to find out where the turbines would be located. “I’ve thought of putting one up myself. There’s a lot of wind out here,” he said.
Horizon had on display a preliminary map of the proposed wind farm, which shows how the turbines will start in Logan County, then snake north into and through Olympia School District in Tazewell County.
The wind farm is expected to bring $900,000 in property taxes to Tazewell and Logan counties. The money, which will be split between Logan and Tazewell counties will go to taxing bodies near the wind farm.
Bill Whitlock, Horizon’s director of development, assured the people standing around the map that Olympia School district would benefit from property tax revenues generated by the turbines.
As the night went on, Streenz moved to a crowd of landowners who sat at a table drinking coffee. They asked her if the turbines would affect Doppler radar. Streenz said they would not.
In the back of the room, people began asking Whitlock how loud the turbines would be. “If you get close to them, you’re underneath them, you’re gonna hear the swoosh,” he said, just before pooh-poohing the land owners’ fears that the sound would travel farther than 1,500 feet.
Aper and his wife left, clearly upset that they had no power to stop the nine – what Aper called ugly – turbines that would surround their home.
Meanwhile, Barnes had joined a group of men who stood around the preliminary map as they tried to guess how much tax money Olympia School District would get.
By Nick Vogel
Times Staff Writer
30 January 2008
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