CONNEAUT – Residents raised questions Monday night about City Council’s closed-door discussions regarding the possible sale of industrial park land to a company interested in creating a wind turbine farm on the site.
Negotiations are proceeding, but the matter is still very tenuous, members said.
“I’m trying not to get my hopes raised,” said Councilman-at-Large Chris Castrilla, council pro tem who convened Monday’s meeting in the absence of Council President James Jones. “If it generates revenue, I’m all for it.”
A public hearing on the matter will be held, but Jones should be consulted on the time and date, Castrilla said.
Last week, council met 90 minutes in executive session to discuss a proposal from SGR Site Associates of Willoughby, which wants to buy 159 acres in the East Conneaut Industrial Park for an undisclosed client. The client is interested in building wind turbine generators on the parcel. Two other landowners adjacent to the park have also been contacted about the project, officials have said.
One talking point may be the length of the option granted the buyer. Interim City Manager Edward Somppi said the city is looking at a one-year option on the land. If the company needs more time to assess the feasibility of the project, the option could stretch a second year – but the city would charge more.
The buyer plans to invest “millions of dollars” into the project and needs a fair amount of time to do research and study, Somppi said. The land would return to the city if no project results after two years, Somppi said.
Frank Giganti, a member of the Conneaut Planning Commission, was in the audience seeking more information on the proposed project. Giganti wanted to know if it was true one of the other landowners was offered a much higher price than the sum offered the city. He also wanted to know if power produced in Conneaut could somehow be used to lower local customers’ electric bills.
By Mark Todd
23 June 2008
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