PRINCETON – Coal is king in Gibson County, but wind and solar energy could be coming, according to Gibson County Commissioners, who discussed Tuesday night how they can be prepared.
County Commissioner Gerald Bledsoe said “windmills are coming” to the county, and he wants to make sure the county roads can sustain the heavy traffic involved in the construction process.
He asked whether the county needs an ordinance requiring bonding on roads used during any construction phase.
Neither Bledsoe nor other commissioners had any firm information, other than noting that developers are leasing property for potential wind and solar energy projects.
“We have an ordinance that requires a bond, based on heavy use and weight,” County Engineer Matt Holden told commissioners, stipulating, “If they call us.”
“We’ll know when a truck goes down the road with a big propeller in the back,” County Attorney James McDonald said.
“Or when the concrete trucks come,” said Bledsoe. “There’s a lot of concrete involved.”
Commissioners said developers are likely in contact with the Gibson County Economic Development Corp. Commissioner Steve Bottoms said E.On, a major energy company, had representatives in the county several months ago doing wind tests in the area west and northwest of Princeton and around Owensville, but he hasn’t heard any further information.
There are several wind farm projects in Benton, Randolph, White, Madison, Tipton, Grant and Howard Counties.
Haubstadt Community School has a single-unit turbine built for educational purposes.
In other business at Tuesday night’s board of commissioners session, members:
• Took bids of $150,120 from Naas LLC and $171,070 from Parker Excavating LLC for demolition of 12 properties with Blight Elimination Program grant funding under advisement, expecting to award a bid at the 8 a.m. Oct. 2 session.
Properties that are on the demolition list include 506 South Main in Fort Branch; 112 East First in Haubstadt; 232 South Prince, 411 West Broadway, 514 North Ford, 520 West Blane, 820 East Spruce, 1103 South Gibson in Princeton; 218 North Main, 626 Polk and 9335 East Ind. 64 Oakland City; and 539 South Lincoln in Somerville.
• Commissioners noted that the Gibson County Chamber of Commerce Golden Heritage Days festival setup begins around the courthouse square at 4 p.m. Thursday.
• At a special meeting of the Gibson County Redevelopment Commission preceding the commissioners’ meeting, redevelopment board members approved a $1,349,331 low bid from Koberstein Contracting Inc. for infrastructure work during development of the new Vuteq training center/production facility southwest of the Toyota plant.
The redevelopment board also approved contract bid specifications for the White Church subdivision development project.
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