Southeast Kansas community talks possibilities of bringing wind farm to area

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HEPLER, Kan.–A Virginia-based wind energy company meets with Southeast Kansas residents on the possibility of bringing a wind farm to the area.

Jayhawk Wind Representatives hosted an informational meeting in Hepler to talk about adding turbines between Crawford and Bourbon Counties — something they say would only benefit the community.

“I hope that they see in the base of a project is the economic development to the area,” explained Senior Development Manager Jade Scheele. “The landowners that participate will see a benefit, as well as the community through new roads, improvements to the local infrastructure.”

Adding wind mills to the area would also increase their tax base and bring in more jobs. But, they understand there can be hesitation before moving forward with such a big project.

“Some of the common questions focus on property values and the noise,” said Scheele. “Also, economic impact–how is this going to impact the community.”

And, some leaders in the area are ready to take that risk.

This proposed project will generate energy to power more than 48,000 homes, as well as encourage the usage of renewable and sustainable energy sources.

“Positioning ourselves to where we can take our resources, in this case it’s wind, and sell it on the east and west coast is really where we need to be economically,” explained Bourbon County Commissioner Jeffrey Fischer.

This isn’t the first time wind farms have been a topic of discussion for the area. Residents have explicitly stated adding turbines would put them on track for economic growth.

“We had an economic development priority session in Fort Scott not too long ago and wind turbines were actually brought up as something that we need to pursue,” said Bourbon County Director of Economic Development Jody Honer. “They have shown to increase tax base and be a substantial source of tax revenue for counties and made an impact on local communities. So, we’ve seen these wind turbines as a positive source of revenue for our community.”

Jayhawk Wind says the decision to propose a wind farm in the area comes after more than twenty years of research on both Crawford and Bourbon Counties. The company hopes to have all 50 turbines constructed by the end of 2021.

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