Wind Turbines Bring Boost To Bishop Hill

April 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Green Energy News

Wind energy is set to bring an economic boost to a local community. The Village of Bishop Hill has received $500,000 in a 20-year agreement with MidAmerican Energy and Invenergy Wind to install nearly 200 wind turbines. 

Mike Wendel and the Bishop Hill Heritage Association have been talking about fixing up the old Steeple Building in town for several years. Now they finally have the money to do it.  

“Basically we have a lot of masonry work that needs to be done,” Wendel says, “We’re doing a lot of restoration work on this building.” 

The $500,000 from the project was split three ways between the Heritage Association, the Arts Council, and the village government. Wendel says they will use their share of the project money, about $167,000, to repair windows, walls, and old pipes in the nearly 160-year old building. A village trustee tells us they will use the money to make necessary maintenance and repairs to the town, but it doesn’t stop there. 

“We are using our share of the money to renovate and bring life back to this old building, and we’ll be using it as a Welcome Center or Visitor’s Center, a place to gather information when people come in from out of town,” Jeff Goard of the Bishop Hill Arts Council says. 

These wind turbines have become a heated issue in Bishop Hill, with some calling them an eyesore, but businesses in town believe the pros outweigh the cons.  

“I can understand people’s concerns, I think overall I see it as a net positive,” Tom Campbell who owns the bakery in town, says, “I’d much rather have this type of thing next door to me than just about any other facility that produces electricity.” 

Those in town are hoping the makeover thanks to this money will give a boost in tourism to a town that sees about 100,000 visitors every year.  

“Memories are made here, I was here as a kid, I came here as an adult. People continue that tradition, they’re always going to continue that tradition, and it’s just going be a boost for us,” Goard says. 

The project is in its second phase to install more than 180 wind turbines in the area. It’s expected to be done by the end of this year.

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