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Residents talk about the Grange Solar Project – Peak of Ohio

By: Michael Kildow & April King

From April 30 to May 8, Open Road Renewables' Grange Solar Project will host a listening tour to hear from the Logan County community. Contribution from residents on the listening tour will be incorporated into the Grange's Community Report and Commitments, which will be published following the tour. All Logan County residents who would like to learn more about the Grange Solar Project and share their opinions are encouraged to attend a Listening Tour event.

On Tuesday evening, April 30, more than 60 local residents were on hand to learn more and provide personal insights as part of a listening study for the potential new Open Road Renewables project here in Logan County. Doug Herling, Vice President of Open Roads Renewables, comments on expectations for Tuesday's first meeting and future tour stops:

This first of four “listening sessions,” all held in a roundtable format, will feature nonpartisan, third-party moderators with preset questions. The supporting organization, Outcomes Management Group of Columbus, Ohio, was founded by President Dr. Patricia Hicks directed. Dr. Hicks addressed the group and laid out the ground rules for the discussions that would take place in each of the five groups. She made it clear that all answers were important and valuable and that each moderator would help ensure that the answers and discussions continued in a timely and respectful manner. She also reiterated what was clearly stated on several signs: “There would be audio and video recording throughout the session.” This was further explained: “It is not about singling out anyone, but rather about detailing all discussions from each group to document.”

The preset five questions used to obtain answers and gain further insight were:

  • Agriculture: 1) Do you believe that strategies can be used to minimize potential negative impacts on the agricultural economy?”
  • Balancing property value and rights: 2) Do you think a nearby solar project could affect the value of the farmer’s property?”
  • Then to the follow-up question 3) “Do you think a nearby solar project could affect the value of your neighbors’ properties?”
  • Benefits to the community: 4) Like any large local investment, solar projects have a significant financial impact on the community. As the project moves forward, please let us know how you would like local officials to invest the funds generated back into the community.”
  • The final topic of discussion focused on Environmental conditions Questions: 5) “How do you think solar will impact the following?” (The questionnaire provided a list of eight factors to enter.)

Finally, each group was given the opportunity to openly address the questions again and discuss them further. At the end, the group leader collected each questionnaire and supplemented it with all the data collected via audio and video throughout the evening.

The next three “Listening Sessions” are scheduled for Wednesday, May 1 and Tuesday, May 7, from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Ohio Hi-Point Career Center and again on Wednesday, May 8 planned at Indian Lake High School. also from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Each participant should expect each session to last two hours and audio and video recordings to be used throughout the session.

For more information about the Open Road Renewables Grange Solar Project, visit www.grangesolarproject.com

Keep following WPKO and PeakofOhio.com for more information.

Anna Harden

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