Opposition is forming to the Eastern Howard School Board’s plans to install a 350-foot-tall wind turbine on the southern edge of Greentown.
Opponents of the project met Wednesday at the Greentown library, citing concerns over issues ranging from the aesthetics of the proposed turbine to its proximity to the town.
“I want to keep the nice, quiet, peaceful Greentown we have,” said Susie Cox, a longtime resident.
Cox said there are two neighborhoods within a quarter-mile of the proposed turbine, and four within a half-mile.
School officials are proposing to situate the turbine on a 37-acre plot of farmland the school owns at the intersection of 50 South and Meridian Street. The turbine would sit just south of the town’s “new” water tower, which town resident Audrey Pawlak said is 175-feet tall.
Eastern superintendent Tracy Caddell said Wednesday that concerns over noise and “shutter flicker” from the turbine have been proven unfounded, and said he doesn’t think the tower will detract from the town’s aesthetics.
“I would certainly not have a problem with a turbine close to my childrens’ school, or my home,” Caddell said.
Caddell told the Kokomo Tribune in November that after expenses, cash savings each year are estimated at $188,000, and the cost savings over the 25-year life of the turbine are estimated at $6.9 million.
He said the plan is to pay for construction of the windmill through the debt service fund. The corporation will finish paying off some debt in 2013, so the estimated $2.6 million in bonds for the wind turbine would replace the debt service and there would be no increase in property taxes.
The U.S. Department of Energy has offered to pay 70 percent of the interest on the bonds used for the project through an incentive program meant to encourage wind energy, he said.
School officials must decide by Feb. 3 whether to apply for a zoning variance for the turbine, if they intend to have the variance heard at the upcoming Howard County Board of Zoning Appeals meeting, 7 p.m. Feb. 28 in Room 101, 120 E. Mulberry St.
The school board would then have to make a formal decision whether or not to pursue the project at a meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Feb. 7 in the school corporation office, 221 W. Main St., Greentown.
• Scott Smith is a Kokomo Tribune staff writer. He may be reached at 765-454-8569 or via e-mail at email@example.com