Wednesday, July 14

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Lincoln possibly top choice
for ethanol plant now    
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[JULY 14, 2004]  A representative of the steering committee for a bio-energy plant dropped in at the Tuesday night city council work session. Brian Wrage said that he was just giving the city a heads-up, but he also asked if they would be willing to offer anything that might sway the company to locate in an area adjacent to city limits. He asked if they might be able to help sway approval for admittance to the enterprise zone or into a TIFF district.

Illini Bio-Energy has been looking at sites to build a coal-fired plant that will produce ethanol from corn. The site must meet three criteria:

  1. Abundant water supply available
  2. Railroad access
  3. Roads that will endure 80,000-pound trucks

The company has been looking at Elkhart and Taylorville. Both these cities meet all the criteria. At Elkhart the company would have to buy up additional land between the potential site and the railroad and then lay 3Ĺ miles of their own track. In addition, the road between Mount Pulaski and Elkhart needs to be upgraded for weighty trucks.

However, the company has identified another site that Wrage says is better, in his opinion. They are looking at properties in the triangle between Eaton, I-55 and Kruger elevator. That site is nearer to two railroad lines and is said to have plenty of water. Preliminary inquiries to property owners indicate that they would be willing to sell.

 

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If the ground isnít too expensive and they can rely on the city to help them gain tax help, such as acceptance into the enterprise zone, it would be the preferred site, Wrage said.

Wrage said he thinks they would probably petition to be annexed into the city. City attorney Bill Bates informed Wrage that that would be a lengthy process that will probably take three to four months due to public hearings and rezoning vote, then public hearings and annexation vote.

Site selection was intended to be announced before now. The new target date to announce by is late August or September.

Wrage invited those present to tour a new plant of the same design in Burlington, Iowa, on either Friday or next Tuesday.

[Jan Youngquist]

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