Tradewind director presents to school board

CLINTON — Tom Swierczewski, development director for Tradewind Energy, spoke to Clinton school board members at Tuesday night’s meeting about the economic impact the proposed wind farms will have on the school district.

Alta Farms II will be located in northern DeWitt County, starting near Waynesville and extending over to Wapella and further east, Swierczewski said. 

“Tradewind has been leasing (farm land in DeWitt County) since 2008,” he said, with nearly 200 landowners who have signed leases covering about 23,000 acres.

“To date, this project has paid over $2.5 million dollars in landowner rent in DeWitt County,” said Swierczewski. 

The DeWitt County project will be similar in size to the Macon County project with 80 to 150 wind turbines.

Swierczewski estimated once the project is in operation, Tradewind Energy expects to pay $2 to $3 million in landowner rent and create about 175 construction jobs with $20 to $35 million in new local activity.

“That would include contracts with local construction companies, tiling companies, gravel, equipment bought in town, tools, new trucks, food, lodging…those kinds of things,” said Swierczewski.

On the taxing side, he said Tradewind Energy expects the average total taxes paid per year to be $2.5 and $4.5 million. 

Construction is expected to start in 2019 with the project going online in 2020, Swierczewski said.

In other business, the board:

Learned meetings about collaborations with Richland Community College are going well but details have not been finalized.

Heard a school improvement plan for Clinton Junior High School from principal Drew Goebel.

Recognized state qualifiers Chase Reynolds in golf; Payne Turney in cross country; and Aidan Shanks in junior high cross-country.

Approved the purchase of six new 65-passenger buses at $82,522 per bus as well as the lease of two 18-passenger buses with special needs equipment for $8,700 per year for three years. 

Learned the state of Illinois still owes the district $345,000.

Approved the addition of a teaching position for a 2nd/3rd grade resource teacher.

Approved the employment of Amy Perschall as the assistant for the 2017-18 CHS musical and Tara Welch as CJHS English teacher beginning Jan. 8.

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