Letters to the Editor

Letter: Protect the Great Sauk Trail from commercial development

I was asked last month to sign a neighborhood petition. It was a draft ordinance to protect the Sauk Trail from commercial development. Of course, I signed.

I am recently retired and have seen much of the world, courtesy of the U.S. Navy. Most folks in Jacksonville, Fla. thought I better rethink my decision to move to the highest-taxed state in the union with terrible winters.

The pictures I’ve sent friends of the Sauk Trail beauty has helped them understand why I want to move. I am a Kewanee native with close family and friends in the area. It took years to find my retirement home, a modest house on 20 acres of timber, a quarter of a mile off the old Sauk Trail. I see many deer and turkey by day and hear owls at night. I am living the dream, as I had hoped.

I was shocked to hear that RWE Renewables, Essen, Germany has secured a number of property leases. Their plan is to build 150 Danish-built wind turbines in Neponset, Mineral, Concord and Macon townships, covering about 20,000 acres. Since the Sauk Trail has some of the highest elevations in the area, I’m sure the turbines will be nearby. At 500-foot tall, it will be like living nightly in a giant amusement park with flashing red lights. Not counting daytime flicker and low frequency noise only my dogs can hear. I found out that new medical studies have shown, however that this noise has permanent effects on human heart rhythm and inner ear (balance).

The draft ordinance calls for a two-mile-wide, six-mile-long historic corridor to protect the Sauk Trail from “any person or business to construct, install or operate the following: strip mining, sanitary landfills, gravel pits, junk yards, scrap yards, salvage yards, nuclear or chemical waste disposal sites, private landing strips, trailer parks, transfer stations, underground transmission lines and any structures over 200-feet tall.”

Forty-one individuals and nearby households have already signed. I understand the ordinance must make its way through county committees first.

My quality of life is at risk so German and Danish companies can make a profit? And at my expense as an American Taxpayer! I hope the county officials respect the Sauk Trail land owners and their property rights. Anything less would be paradise destroyed.

Jim Phelps, Sauk Trail land owner, Neponset