The answers quickly turned to the historical aspects of the
community, its hublike location in central Illinois, the LDC campus,
an Amtrak stop and finally the wind resources.
Smiley commented on
the wind resources, saying that having the wind development and the
availability of the transmission lines offers a tremendous growth
Cox asked if the companies that had the turbines were paying
taxes to Logan County and employing Logan County residents.
Smiley said they were generating revenue for the city and county
and that for every 100 megawatt wind farm, there is an opportunity
for eight to 16 full-time jobs in maintenance.
Hake said the wind farms had brought with them other benefits,
such as the building up of the road structures in the vicinity of
the farms; they donated training and supplies to the community's
fire departments, pertaining particularly to high rescue; and the
companies also donated to festivals in the communities they are
Cox asked if the managers of the farms or the facility leaders
were engaged in the life of the community, if anyone in the room
worked for them, or if any of them engaged in other civic boards.
Hake said: "No, they are not as engaged as we would like for them
to be. They are based out of Bloomington, and they are involved
somewhat in the Hartsburg and Emden communities."
Ladd added that the wind farms are of a great benefit to the
small school districts. He noted that the Rail Splitter Wind Farm is
currently contributing to the Hartsburg-Emden school district, and
the proposed Sugar Creek Farm, if it would be built, would benefit
the New Holland-Middletown district.
A voice in the back of the room asked for the group to express
their opinion on the visual impact of the turbines.
Hake said that everything that she has heard is that they are
spectacular. "I've seen them, I think they are wonderful," she said,
and added that early on there were concerns about the noise, but she
feels that they are drawing attention to our community in a very
Cox said that when traveling by train in Europe, the wind farms
always caught the attention of travelers and there was a feeling
that they were something one had to take a picture of, almost like a
It was also mentioned that there was a movement toward the
privatization of wind energy and that there are already some very
small-scale personal turbines going up in the county.
Doolin said that his brother lives among the turbines and has
said that they are not nearly as bad as he had expected them to be.
He went on to say that yes, they do a lot of good, but there is a
concern that the county may become littered with them and that
Lincoln doesn't want to become known as a windmill city.
Cox agreed, saying that this could work into an area where it was
an opportunity but also a threat to the economic growth of the
[to top of second column]
Carlton added to that, saying that he didn't want the county to be
shortsighted, looking only at the windmills and their pockets of
revenue, without considering what may be coming down the road in 10
or 15 years, and how these farms could possibly hinder agricultural
development and subsequently cost not only the county but the
smaller communities such as Emden and Hartsburg.
Ferry asked if any studies had been done regarding wind velocity
on the LDC campus. He noted that with 100 acres on the campus, there
could be a potential for the city to establish some turbines for
their own electric consumption.
Smiley said there is a Web site called Wind for Illinois that
details wind velocities in the area and that the information may be
available there. He said he could also contact Steve Smith with
Farnsworth Group and perhaps get him down to look at it as well.
With that, Cox brought the discussion of the wind farms to a
close, saying that there had been some excellent interaction on the
topic and that it was going to lead him right into the next segment:
[By NILA SMITH]
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