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City council hears plans for wind farm in area

City council members heard a presentation Tuesday from a representative of an energy company organizing wind energy production efforts in northwest Ohio.

Rory Cantwell, development manager for TCI Renewables, said the company has been working since 2008 to acquire property in Hancock and Seneca counties for placement of wind turbines that would be capable of producing enough electricity to power the equivalent of 80 percent of households in the two counties.

He said meteorological towers installed in Washington and Big Springs townships show the project is viable here and could create up to $1.2 million in revenue per year to be split between local townships, counties and school districts. He also presented information to council about the environmental and economic benefits of wind energy.

“Since about 2006, the industry has really taken off and become more of a mainstream source of energy,” he said. “Wind is real, and it’s becoming a standard source of power diversification in the American grid.”

An agreement between TCI and the city would likely involve a right-of-way agreement through the western side of the reservoir property, Cantwell said.

Mayor Eric Keckler said Cantwell’s presentation was intended to introduce the concept of the project, and discussion with the company would be ongoing.

During the public participation portion of the meeting, Roberta Kimble, 312 W. Tiffin St., said she was concerned with the lack of an overpass to allow police and fire personnel access to residents of the Iron Triangle if a train were blocking crossings in the event of an emergency. She said members of her family live in the area and claimed she waited more than 80 minutes once last year to cross railroad tracks when a train was stopped.

“If those three crossings are blocked, you’re doomed,” she said.

City Engineer Dan Thornton said a project has been planned to install an overpass allowing for access to the Iron Triangle, but it has not received funding consideration from the Ohio Department of Transportation.

In other business, council heard first readings of five new ordinances, three of which replace chapters and sections of the city’s codified ordinances with amendments dealing with vehicle parking and storage, building maintenance and the job description of the zoning inspector.

The other two ordinances that saw first readings, requested by Director of Finance Steve Garner, would raise mandatory contributions to the Ohio police and fire pension funds to match the state-required level of 10.75 percent, up from 10 percent.

Passed as an emergency item was another ordinance requested by Garner that appropriates more than $1.1 million into the brownfield fund that was received in a grant last year.

Also approved was an ordinance amending the traffic control map and file to establish a handicap parking space at 237 E. Crocker St. with no handicap bus parking.

During his report, Keckler reminded those in attendance that city residents may drop items off at Sunny Farms Landfill from 8-11 a.m. Saturday. Identification and proof of Fostoria residency is required.

Also Saturday is the Ken Drew Memorial Fishing Derby at Reservoir 2. Registration begins at 8 a.m. at City Park, with the derby slated for 9-11 a.m.