Boone County

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Boone County’s board approved a special use permit for a natural gas peaker plant in Garden Prairie near Belvidere.

Member Cathy Ward says they voted 8-4 in favor, and they believe the plant near Belvidere would bring up to $900,000 to the area. Most of this money would go to Belvidere schools, and about $100,000 would go to the county directly.

Supporters of the plant cited a need for more tax revenue and jobs, while opponents  were concerned about water usage, excessive noise, and devaluation of local property.  

The Boone County board will consider a special use permit for a natural gas power plant.

Power Ventures plans on building the 450-megawatt “peaker” plant at Garden Prairie.  The $180 million project would provide extra power during periods of high use, but faces opposition from local residents. 

Ben Jacobson/CC 2.5

One of the main arguments Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc. has made in favor of its rail project is that it would act as an economic driver for the region.  Company lawyer Mike Blaszak says construction would create a significant number of jobs.

"Those of course, would be temporary," he said, "but the construction period would last at least two years."

Once the railroad is in operation, he envisions a smaller set of permanent positions operating trains, maintaining track, and other daily functions. 

The Winnebago County Board unanimously approved a resolution Thursday opposing the construction of the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 261-mile railroad would pass through six Illinois counties and into Rock County, Wisconsin, to bypass congested Chicago freight lines. .  However, opposition groups have formed in many of the affected counties, including a group which claims more than 14,000 members in Winnebago County. 

Great Lakes Basin Transportation Inc.

Hundreds of Winnebago Township residents protested the latest proposal for the Great Lakes Basin Railroad.

The 260-mile route would pass through several parts of Winnebago County in order to bypass Chicago freight traffic.  However, the Rockford Register-Star reports residents are concerned the route could pass through their farmland or have a negative effect on wildlife. 

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