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Construction moves along on McDonough County wind farm

Progress is being made on the new wind farm in rural McDonough County.

City leaders said it’s been a long-awaited project and now, it’s helping the local economy.

Crews are working hard to put up 60 wind turbines. Right now, they’re on schedule working to get the bases in and workers said, the entire project is moving right along, while also bringing a lot of people to town.

Thursday was a busy day on the construction site of the new Cardinal Point wind farm project.

“Lots of work,” site safety manager Kevin Zajdel said. “New beginnings, ramping out with man power out here. Seeing new faces every day, more equipment coming out here.”

Zajdel said it takes a lot of workers to construct 60 wind turbines in a 100-mile radius. But, he said it’s coming right along.

“The cranes will start coming on site, here shortly,” Zajdel said. “We’re ramping up to about 300 man power here within the next few weeks.”

MAEDCO executive director Kim Pierce said she’s excited to see crews out laying the base of the turbines. She said the county has been has been working on this for almost a decade.

Now, it’s bringing more life to the county than she expected.

“We have 300 construction jobs going in and out of this county on a daily basis, so that’s great news as far as sales tax collection because everybody has to eat and buy gas,” Pierce said. “We’re excited about that. Those numbers came in way higher than estimated.”

Zajdel is one of those workers, originally from Pittsburgh, but is staying in the county to work on the project.

“Folks out here are very nice,” Zajdel said. “For all the people coming in, hospitality in town, can’t be greater. Good food, good quality of people in town.”

Zajdel said they’re doing a lot of road work in preparation in order to get the turbines on the site.

It’s something Pierce is excited to see, as the project quickly comes together.

“To see all the turbines, it shows you’re a progressive community,” Pierce said. “They chose us for their renewable energy project, which I think is great. At the end of the day, it’s renewable energy and we like that.”

Once these construction crews are gone, officials said there will still be a small crew on hand to monitor the wind farm.

As far as the county’s benefit goes, energy company officials said it could bring in up to $37 million in taxes for the 25 to 30 years.


Kara Biernat

Kara Biernat is a MultiMedia Journalist for WGEM News.

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