URBANA – An Elder of the Piqua Shawnee Tribe said this week that a proposed wind farm in Champaign County will likely not threaten a historic burial ground near Urbana.
Gene Park, a member of the Piqua Shawnee Tribe, based in Alabama, said he has been reviewing the site with the help of the U.S. Department of the Interior, as well as representatives from Everpower Wind Holdings, the New York company that is developing the Buckeye Wind Project.
The project will construct more than 50 wind turbines spread over several townships in the county.
During the approval process with the Ohio Power Siting Board, Park raised concerns that the proposed project could damage the historic burial mound near Urbana.
However, after reviewing a Cultural Archeological Survey completed by a company called Cultural Resource Analysts, Park said he no longer believes the project will damage the mound.
According to information from Everpower, the nearest turbine would be about 900 feet from the burial mound. There will also be no access roads in the area of the mound.
“They’ll be right on our doorstep but they won’t affect the mound,” Park said of the turbines.
Michael Speerschneider, director of government affairs and permitting for Everpower, said he’s pleased that the tribe is satisfied with the archeological survey results.
“Everpower is committed to the preservation of historical and cultural resources within the boundaries of our wind farms both during construction and operation,” Speerschneider said.
In the meantime, Park, who lives in the area, said he planned to continue to work with Everpower and monitor the site to make sure it is protected in the future.