Wind Farm Blows Cash Into School System

The GSG wind energy facility will contain 40 wind turbines just southwest of the Mendota Hills wind farm near Paw Paw. The turbines will be about 30 percent bigger than the existing ones. When the first phase of the project is complete, the wind turbines will generate enough electricity to power 24,000 homes.

Wind farms have been a controversial topic across many counties in the Stateline, but in Lee County wind turbines are a reality, and people don’t seem to mind, because they are multiplying.

“I think a lot of people have visited the existing areas over here and found that they don’t produce dead birds and they don’t produce noise and they are very relaxing.”

Larry Leffelman will have four turbines on his family’s property.

Whether they are relaxing or not is arguable. What isn't arguable is that the wind farm will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to schools in Mendota Paw Paw and Amboy.

“It's a great influx of money into the schools without them having more children at the same time. So they can use the money to service the needs of what they have.”

Bruce Papiech and his wife initiated the wind farm project.

The third highest elected official in the country was at the groundbreaking. He encourages all communities to consider alternative energy sources, but says that is a decision that needs to be made locally.

“If the people up in Boone County don’t want one it’s to the advantage of the people down here to build it. It’s a tax revenue. It means less taxes they have to pay and it means better support of schools,” said Dennis Hastert, Speaker of the House.

The first turbines will be completed early next year, with wind and money flowing through soon after.