NORTH LEWISBURG – A roughly $20 million project to build 57 wind turbines in Champaign County took a step forward Tuesday during a public meeting, but many residents are still split on whether the project is right for the county.
The project is the latest of two projects. The first phase, which would include about 50 turbines, is still being reviewed in the Ohio Supreme Court.
Officials from Everpower Wind Holdings Inc. hosted a two-hour event at Triad High School, allowing residents to review a map of the proposed project, as well as visual images of what the project may look like once completed.
The project, which is spread across 13,500 acres of land and six townships in the county, would generate enough energy to power as a many as 40,000 households, according to information from the company.
The wind farm could also generate about $20 million in payments to the state, townships and local school districts.
Once complete, the project is expected to require seven to 10 full-time jobs.
The model of turbine to be used has not yet been selected for either phase of the project. But Jason Dagger, a spokesman for the project, said the turbines could be roughly 490 feet tall from the base to the tip of the blade. They would be taller than the Kettering Tower in Dayton, the tallest building on that city’s skyline.
But residents are divided about whether the plan is a fit for Champaign County. James McCoy, who lives south of Mutual, said he’s concerned the project will bring with it a series of problems, possibly damaging roads and marring the county’s rural landscape. He said he believes many residents are resigned to the fact that the project will move forward.
“We’re just not set up for it yet,” McCoy said of the county.
Others, like Scott Stevenson, an organizer for the International Union of Operating Engineers, said construction will require local labor, and said the project will provide a needed boost to the local economy. He said workers, many from Clark and Champaign counties, will be needed to widen roads, repair culverts and perform other duties as the turbines are built.
Everpower will now need to submit an application with the Ohio Power Siting Board.
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