Proposed Ethanol Plant

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Joanne smith has lived in the Redenius Woods subdivision for 7 years. Her home is a field away from the proposed ethanol plant.

"An ethanol plant in the middle of subdivisions--it's just not conducive to our area," says Smith.

Thursday evening, smith hosted a meeting for concerned residents like Wendy Larson. Larson says many people have been left in the dark and they want information before a land rezoning hearing in 2 weeks.

"Our concern is, what are we looking at in the midst of a community that's full of families. We understand there may be great economic benefit, but at who's cost...and what cost. And we would like to have these questions answered," says Larson.

Concerned citizens are holding a public information meeting next week. They've invited county leaders, developers, and environmental protection agency representatives to attend.

"I think all of this concern is premature. Inititally ZBA will be addressing the immediate issue which is a map amendment for zoning change. And if you'll note, that area out there is heavily industrial," says Sue Mroz, Director of Planning and Economic Developmet.

Mroz says the county is working to improve quality of life. Mroz says a multi-million dollar investment by Shamburg firm, Wight Partners would create dozens of jobs and contribute millions to the tax base.

"We're not the toilet for Winnebago County, that every undesirable development lands square in our backyard," says Larson.

"You have a lot of huge industries, actually, in every other quadrant. There's not as much on the West Side--and we're trying to balance things out and provide job opportunities for every quadrant in the county," says Mroz.

The concerned residents will be holding their meeting on January 5 at 7 pm at Winnebago High School. Mroz says at this time, her office is not planning on attending because an open forum is afforded at the zoning board of appeals hearing. That hearing is set for January 11 at 5 pm at the County administration building.