On Thursday night, the ZBA rejected the special-use permit by a 5-1 vote after 17 nights of testimony from Tradewind Energy and opponents of the proposed Alta Winds Farm project for the 12,000-acre project in Barnett, Wapella and Clintonia townships. The permit will be forwarded to the County Board but a date on when the board will consider the permit has not yet been announced.
“We remain confident in the application, which clearly meets or exceeds all of DeWitt County’s ordinance requirements and details a first-rate wind farm that will be an asset to the entire community,” said Tom Swierczewski, senior development director for Tradewind Energy. “We look forward to the next step in the approval process and to bringing this project and its many community benefits to fruition.”
The total cost of the project is estimated to be between $200 million and $250 million and would add 66 turbines up to 599 feet in northwestern DeWitt County.
Tradewind began development of the project in 2007 by initiating a leasing campaign and went into full development in 2016. The company has a contract to sell power generated by the project with the Indiana Municipal Power Agency.
In September 2018, Alta Farms submitted a special-use permit application to the county, which also was rejected by the planning commission, the zoning board and finally, on April 25, 2019, by the county board.
The project faced opposition from non-participating landowners near the project such as Andrea Rhoades, who campaigned against the project in the first round, as well as both the RPC and ZBA hearings in late 2019 and early 2020. She said she was “thrilled” that for the second time, the ZBA has not recommended approval of the permit to the full board.
“The board shared our concerns around health, safety and the enjoyment of the property for the non-participating residents,” she said. “They also discussed how this application does not comply with our zoning ordinances. We are hopeful that the county board will take the recommendation from the ZBA, who listened to 17 days of testimony, and vote no on this application.”
In submitting the plan, Tradewind officials said the second permit included nearly a year’s worth of additional development activities such as engineering work on the wind farm design and public road improvements, final geotechnical work, and landowner approval of the site plan.
Tradewind Energy officials said they worked to ease resident's concerns about the impact the wind farm could have on weather radar and have had discussions with the National Weather Service in Lincoln. The new application includes wording to that effect.
“As a result, Alta Farms will voluntarily curtail turbine operations (feather blades to minimize blade rotation) as soon as reasonably feasible after issuance and for the duration of severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings in DeWitt County issued by the NWS.”
If approved by the County Board, Alta Farms intends to begin construction in 2020 with commercial operation targeted by the end of 2021. Officials estimate it would add 234 new jobs during construction in DeWitt County and 20 new long-term jobs for DeWitt County. Tradewind Energy also estimated the project would bring in more than $22 million in total school district revenue for the Clinton School District and more than $4.6 million in total county property taxes.
Travel Central Illinois: Cultural Attractions
Travel Central Illinois: Cultural Attractions
Plan your summer trips with this list of cultural attractions located right at home in Central Illinois.
Listed alphabetically by city. Source:
2015 Illinois travel guide.
Arcola Depot Welcome Center
135 N. Oak St., Arcola, (800) 336-5456, (217) 268-4530,
The historic depot provides information about this small-town community, and houses the largest collection of antique brooms and brushes in the United States. Pick up maps and information on the Amish sites to help you explore this area.
Illinois Amish Museum
Rockome Gardens, 125 N. County Rd. 425E, Arcola, (217) 268-4306,
Step back in time with a hosted tour to when meals were made from scratch and buggies ruled the road. This is the first museum in Illinois dedicated to Amish culture.
Abraham Lincoln Long Nine Museum
200 S. Main St., Athens, (217) 636-8755,
Located on the way to Lincoln's New Salem Historic Site, this building was built in 1832 by Col. Matthew Rogers. Lincoln visited it on his way from New Salem to Springfield. It now houses dioramas about Lincoln's connection to Athens. Open June - Sept. and by appointment.
J.H. Hawes Grain Elevator Museum
300 Vine St., Atlanta, (217) 648-2056,
Discover a connection to the unique industry of producing, storing and shipping Illinois' grain. The museum, saved by local citizens from becoming a practice fire for local firefighters, has been an agricultural haven ever since.
Lincoln Courtroom and Museum
101 W. 3rd St., Beardstown, (217) 323-3271, (217) 323-3225,
See the original building where Lincoln successfully tried the famous Almanac trial. Museum also houses the Rudy Black gun collection, the River Museum featuring the Illinois River, a memorabilia room for the internationally known Beardstown Ladies investment club and a gift shop.
Bryant Cottage State Historic Site
146 E. wilson St., Bement, (217) 678-8184,
Some historians believe that Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas conferred about guidelines for their historic debates in this 1856 cottage.
David Davis Mansion State Historic Site
The David Davis State Historic Site at 1000 E. Monroe Drive, Bloomington.
Ewing Cultural Center and Genevieve Green Gardens
48 Sunset Rd., Bloomington, (309) 829-6333,
Built in the late 1920s, the manor and its grounds are a peaceful retreat that puts all four seasons on display.
The McLean County Arts Center, 601 N. East St., Bloomington, hosts internationally acclaimed art exhibits, as well as works by regional and local artists.
McLean County Museum of History
200 N. Main St., Bloomington, (309) 827-0428,
Housed inside the old McLean County Courthouse in the downtown Bloomington square where President Abraham Lincoln once practiced law, the museum features permanent and rotating exhibits that explore the rich history of central Illinois.
Prairie Aviation Museum
2929 E. Empire St., Bloomington, (309) 663-7632,
Experience aviation technology and history up close. The headquarters houses a theater, aircraft models, engines, photos, uniforms and Ozark Airlines memorabilia.
Krannert Art Museum & Kinkead Pavilion
500 E. Peabody Dr., Champaign, (217) 333-1861,
Krannert Art Museum houses a collection of more than 8,000 works. The second largest public art museum in the state also hosts lectures, symposiums and concerts. Stop by the cafe and bookstore.
Orpheum Children's Science Museum
346 N. Neil St., Champaign, (217) 352-5895,
Wonders of science take center stage at this hands-on museum, located at the Orpheum Theatre, built in 1914. Exhibits include live animals, a water tornado, a miniature castle and an outdoor dinosaur dig.
Parkland Art Gallery
2400 w. Bradley Ave., Champaign, (217) 351-2485,
This gallery displays works by contemporary regional and national artists. Exhibits illustrate a wide range of traditional and innovative work. The gallery also hosts the National Invitational Watercolor Show and Invitational Show of Ceramic Art.
Sousa Archives & Center for American Music
Harding Band building #240, 1103 S. 6th St., Champaign, (217) 244-9309,
John Phillip Sousa's personal band-music library, willed to the University of Illinois, is on display, along with period band uniforms and musical instruments. Relive a forgotten time when you step into this museum honoring a true "music man."
William M. Staerkel Planetarium
Parkland College, 2400 W. Bradley Ave., Champaign, (217) 351-2568,
A Zeiss Star Projector projects 7,600 visible stars onto a 50-ft. dome. The planetarium also presents amazing light shows.
Lincoln-Douglas Debate Museum
416 W. Madison Ave., Charleston, (217) 348-0430,
A life-size statue marks this site, commemorating the second of the famous debates between Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.
Tarble Arts Center
S. 9th St. at Cleveland Ave., Charleston, (217) 581-ARTS,
Located on the campus of Eastern Illinois University, this museum features changing art exhibitions, Illinois folk art, a chamber music series, classes and a gift shop.
C.H. Moore Homestead/DeWitt County Museum
219 E. Woodlawn St., Clinton, (217) 935-6066,
C.H. Moore and Abraham Lincoln were close friends and law associates. Enjoy the lovely Victorian home, farm buildings, blacksmith shop and telephone display.
Weldon Springs Union School Interpretive Center
4734 Weldon Springs Rd., Clinton, (217) 935-2644,
Stop by and learn from park interpreters who are filled with knowledge about nature and wildlife. The visitors center includes a restored one-room school and a township hall, both featuring scientific and historical displays and exhibits.
Vermillion County Museum
116 N. Gilbert St.,, Danville, (217) 442-2922,
The museum replicates the courthouse where Lincoln practiced law from 1841 to 1859. Also on-site is the 1855 Fithian Home. See the room where Lincoln spent two nights in 1858 and the balcony where he gave an informal speech.
Vermillion County War Museum
307 N. Vermillion St., Danville, (217) 431-0034,
Located in the refurbished Carnegie Library building, this museum constantly adds to its collection of artifices and memorabilia. The museum features a history of 10 wars involving the United States
African-American Cultural Museum and Genealogical Society of Illinois
235 w. Eldorado St., (217) 429-7458,
Here you will find a collection of photos, art and other materials documenting the history and contributions of African-Americans across the nation.
Children's Museum of Illinois
55 S. Country Club Rd., Decatur, (217) 423-KIDS,
Explore more than 10,000 sq. ft. of hands-on exhibits focusing on people and cultures, the arts, physics, humanities, the ecosystem and health services. It's entertaining for kids of all ages.
Hieronymus Mueller Museum
420 W. Eldorado, Decatur, (217) 423-6161,
A tribute to Decatur's "unsung genius," this museum showcases all of Mueller's amazing contributions to modern technology.
Macon County History Museum
5580 N. Fork Rd., Decatur, (217) 422-4919,
The prairie years and the Victorian era come to life at this official Looking for Lincoln location. The Prairie Village features the 1830s log courthouse where Lincoln tried several cases, a train depot, blacksmith shop, print shop and more.
Madden Arts Center
125 N. Water St., Decatur, (217) 423-3189,
The warm, welcoming and slightly funky Madden Arts Center is a richly renovated hub. The building houses galleries, classrooms, an art shop and a photo lab. The Anne Lloyd Gallery showcases local exhibits, as well as extraordinary traveling collections.
Frank Lloyd Wright's First National Bank of Dwight
122 W. Main St., Dwight, (815) 584-1212,
This nearly unchanged structure has withstood the test of time and is a picture-perfect replica of Wright's original building plans. Now, this fully functional bank is a historic symbol for the city of Dwight.
Effingham County Courthouse Museum
Jefferson Ave. at 3rd St., Effingham, (800) 772-0750,
Built in 1871, this courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Today, the museum recalls the history of Effingham through transportation and rotating veterans exhibits.
Greenup Train Depot & Museum
213 W. Cumberland St., Greenup, (217) 923-9306
This 1870, two-story landmark once served as Greenup's railroad depot. today, a museum recalls the era of small-town depots with displays of railroading artifacts.
110 W. Main St., Greenville, (618) 664-4115,
Learn about Greenville's DeMoulin factory, which has produced everything from lodge paraphernalia to band uniforms.
The Richard w. Bock Sculpture Museum
315 E. College Ave., Greenville, (618) 664-6521,
Located on the Greenville College campus, this museum is a tribute to the artist Richard Bock, who worked with Frank Lloyd Wright for many years. More than 300 of his sculptures are in the collection.
Simpkins Military History Museum
605 E. Cole St., Heyworth, (309) 473-3989,
More than 1,000 American shoulder patches, 130 pieces of military headgear, 500 uniforms and 50 rifles are on display here, as well as a Civil War 34-star American flag made in 1861.
David Strawn Art Gallery
331 W. College Ave., Jacksonville, (217) 243-9390,
View early Mississippian Native American pottery, the Miriam Cowgur Allen antique doll collection and rotating exhibits in a historic home.
Governor Duncan Mansion
4 Duncan Pl., Jacksonville, (800) 593-5678,
Used for state business during Joseph Duncan's term from 1834 to 1838, the mansion is now restored and refurbished to its original luster. This three-story, 17-room structure is the only official governor's mansion outside Springfield.
Looking for Lincoln Sites
1463 Gierke Rd., Jacksonville, (217) 543-5678,
Follow in the steps of Abraham Lincoln through historic Jacksonville. See the places he visited, read about the history and hear the real stories as his friends and associates knew him.
1463 Gierke Rd., Jacksonville, (217) 543-5678,
This is the showcase homestead of Jacksonville's network of nine documented Underground Railroad homes. Woodlawn was settled in 1824 by Kentuckian Michael Huffaker and his wife. Former slaves were ushered through this home on their way to freedom.
Lincoln Log Cabin State Historic Site
The 1840s farm and home of Thomas and Sarah Bush Lincoln, Abarham Lincoln's parents, is open year-round and includes the Stephen Sargent Farm, the Reuben Moore Home and a visitors center. A living-history program is featured, with costumed interpreters.
Heritage in Flight Museum
Logan county Airport, 1351 Airport Rd., Lincoln, (217) 732-3333,
See aircraft and memorabilia dating back to WWI in the building that once housed German prisoners of war at Camp Ellis.
Lincoln Heritage Museum
1115 Nicholson Rd., Lincoln, (217) 735-7399,
Through rare and historic pieces relating to Lincoln and the Civil War, as well as through A/V presentations, object reproductions and realistic 19th-century room re-creations, the visitor is drawn back into Lincoln's world. Here, visitors are invited to see history, hear history and feel history.
Postville Courthouse State Historic Site
914 5th St., Lincoln, (217) 732-8687,
Lincoln served as a lawyer on the Eighth Judicial Circuit, stopping here at the first Logan County Courthouse, in use from 1840 to 1847.
Museum of the Grand Prairie
Rte 47 N., 1/2 mile from 1-74 N., Mahomet, (217) 586-2612,
See an extensive collection interpreting 19th- and early 20th-century life.
603 Locust St., Marshall, (217) 826-2034, (217) 826-1044,
Home to the National Road Welcome Center, this center tells the story of the political figures, surveyors and builders of the National Road.
Monticello Railway Museum
992 Iron Horse Pl., Monticello, (877) 762-9011,
The museum offers vintage train rides, weekends May-Oct. Catch the train from the museum site and view the various pieces of railroad equipment, from steam to electric.
Monticello Wabash Depot
200 Railroad St., Monticello, (800) 952-3396, (217) 762-7921,
Depart on a vintage train ride from the depot, built in 1899. It also serves as a visitors center for Monticello.
Mount Pulaski Courthouse State Historic Site
City Square, Mount Pulaski, (217) 792-3919,
One of two remaining courthouses on the Eighth Judicial Circuit traveled by Abraham Lincoln, the site served as the county courthouse from 1847 to 1853.
Challenger Learning Center at Heartland Community College
1500 W. Raab Rd., Normal, (309) 268-8701,
An educational organization offering an interactive, simulated space experience for students and other groups. These "missions" promote leadership, communication and critical thinking skills and improve science and technology education.
Children's Discovery Museum
101 E. Beaufort St., Normal, (309) 433-3444,
Explore, imagine, create and play with three floors of amazing hands-on exhibits, special events, educational programs and the Discover More! Store.
Illinois State University Planetarium
ISU Felmley Hall of Science, Normal, (309) 438-8756,
The planetarium caters to all ages, with enriching public presentations, educational workshops and a view of the Milky Way.
Bicentennial Art Center
132 S. Central Ave., Paris, (217) 466-8130,
Enjoy this historic 1828 mansion-turned-art-gallery with rotating displays that showcase the work of noted Midwestern artists. Classes and workshops for children and adults are offered year-round. Hours are Tue.-Fir. 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Edgar Lee Masters Home & Museum
8th and Jackson streets, Petersburg
In memory of the American poet and author of The Spoon River Anthology, memorabilia and works are on display in the house where Edgar Lee Masters lived as a young boy.
Lincoln's New Salem State Historic Site
15588 History Ln., Petersburg, (217) 632-4000,
Visit this reconstructed 1830s village where Abraham Lincoln lived as a young adult. Twenty-four buildings and costumed interpreters re-create pioneer life. Theatre in the Park offers family entertainment during the summer months.
International Walldog Mural and Sign Art Museum
217 N. Mill St., Pontiac, (815) 842-1848,
This museum tells the history of outdoor sign and mural advertising.
Livingston County War Museum
321 N. Main St., Pontiac, (815) 842-0301,
This living history museum, staff by military veterans, honors the men and women from the area who have served in the military.
Pontiac-Oakland Automobile Museum
205 N. Mill St., Pontiac, (815) 842-2345,
Covering the history of these two classic American car brands, the museum houses numerous pristine vehicles, a comprehensive library of historical maps and brochures and original design drawings.
Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum
110 W. Howard St., Pontiac, (815) 844-1166,
The Mother Road comes alive with memorabilia from the glory days of Route 66. Take a stroll down memory lane as you browse through pictures and stories of the highway as it began in Illinois in 1926.
Chanute Air Museum
1011 Pacesetter Dr., Rantoul, (217) 893-1613,
The largest aerospace museum in Illinois showcases the 76-year history of Chanute Air Force Base. Special memorial items are dedicated in honor of Illinois pioneer aviators and Chanute AFB commanders and heroes.
Boarman's Chevy Bel Air Museum
224 W. Main St., Shelbyville, (217) 774-4919
This museum, decorated in 1950s sock-hop style, houses eight Chevys from the 1950s. It has 1950s memorabilia, Chevy clocks, neon signs and a jukebox.
Shelby County Courthouse
301 E. Main St., Shelbyville, (217) 774-4421
Built in 1879, the courthouse displays historic paintings, including Robert Root's depiction of the Lincoln-Thorton debate. Courtrooms are open for viewing during the week when court is not in session.
Funk Prairie Home and Gem Museum
10875 Prairie Home Ln., Shirley, (309) 827-6792,
All 13 of the Prairie Home's rooms are open for viewing and decorated with their original furniture, which dates back to the 1860s. Visitors can also view a large collection of gems and minerals.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum
112 N. 6th St. and 212 N. 6th St., Springfield, (800) 610-2094,
Learn the entire Lincoln story under one roof. Experience election night in 1860, the Blue Room of the White House, Ford's Theater and multiscreen, state-of-the-art projection technology to immerse you in the 19th century.
Air Combat Museum
835 S. Airport Dr., Springfield, (217) 522-2181,
Through the display of more than a dozen military aircraft, this museum pays tribute to veterans who operate, maintain and support America's military aircraft.
Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site
301 E. Lawrence Ave., Springfield, (217) 782-6776,
This house, built in 1902 for socialite Susan Lawrence Dana, exemplifies Frank Lloyd Wright's early architecture, art glass and furniture style.
Daughters of Union Veterans of the Civil War Museum
503 S. Walnut St., Springfield, (217) 544-0616,
The war that helped shape a country is remembered here in
War of the Rebellion: Official Records of the Union and Confederate Armies. The museum also contains medals, photos, currency and uniforms.
700 N. 4th St., Springfield, (217) 523-2631,
At the hub of Springfield's 19th-century social and political life, this beautifully preserved mansion saw many illustrious visitors, including Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas.
Elijah Iles House: Springfield's History Museum
628 S. 7th St., Springfield, (217) 492-5929,
Experience the historic Greek Revival-style house once owned by a founder of Springfield, Elijah Iles. It houses a permanent exhibit,
Springfield as Urban Frontier, 1818-1836.
The Illinois Governor's Mansion, at 410 E. Jackson St., in Springfield, will reopen in July after more than a year of major renovations.
Grand Army of the Republic
629 S. 7th St., Springfield, (217) 522-4373
Tintypes by Civil War photographer Matthew Brady are among the highlights of this large assortment of Civil War memorabilia.
Illinois Fire Museum
Illinois State Fairgrounds, Central Ave. at Main St., Springfield, (217) 524-8754,
Step back in time inside Old Firehouse Building #7 on the grounds of the Illinois State Fair. See antique fire-service memorabilia, artwork, equipment, sculptures and one of the nation's largest collections of firefighters patches.
Illinois State Capitol Complex
301 S. 2nd St., Springfield, (217) 782-2099,
Murals, paintings and statuary add to the beauty of this center of state government, built in 1877. The Illinois Firefighter Memorial and Illinois Police Officers Memorial are also part of the complex.
Illinois State Military Museum
Camp Lincoln, 1301 N. MacArthur Blvd., Springfield, (217) 761-3910
This museum, located on the grounds of Camp Lincoln, is committed to collecting, preserving, interpreting and exhibiting the military heritage of Illinois. It also serves as the headquarters of the Illinois National Guard.
Illinois State Museum
502 S. Spring St., Springfield, (217) 782-7386,
Exhibits tell the story of Illinois' land, life, people and art, including sights and sounds of Native American life and works by Illinois artists.
Korean War National Museum
9 S. Old State Capitol Plaza, Springfield, (888) 295-7212,
Three-dimensional exhibits depict the story of the Korean War by replicating the war experience.
Lawrence Memorial Library/Mata Simpson Resource Center
Lawrence Education Center, 101 E. Laurel St., Springfield, (217) 525-3039,
In 1905 Frank Lloyd Wright designed the interior of this school library, which has been restored to its original luster.
Lincoln-Herndon Law Offices State Historic Site
Old State Capitol Plaza, S. 6th St. at E. Adams St., Springfield, (217) 785-7289,
built in 1841, this building was at hone time the only federal court in Illinois and also served as Lincoln's law office.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
413 S. 8th St., Springfield (217) 492-4241,
Visit the only home Abraham Lincoln owned in his life, now located at the center of a four-block historic site which includes a visitors center at the home of Lincoln's neighbors.
Chase Bank, S. 6th St. at E. Washington St., Springfield, (217) 527-3860
Lincoln first deposited $30 in 1853 at this bank, the oldest in Illinois. Now you can review his bank transactions.
Lincoln Tomb State Historic Site
Oak Ridge Cemetery, 1500 Monument Ave., Springfield, (217) 782-2717,
This is the tomb where Abraham Lincoln, his wife, Mary Todd; and three of their four sons rest. Be sure to see the statuary inside the tomb that shows Lincoln at different periods of his public career.
Lincoln's Family Pew
First Presbyterian Church, 321 S. 7th St., Springfield, (217) 528-4311,
Seven Tiffany windows illuminate the sanctuary of this church and Abraham Lincoln's family pew. It is open June - Sept.
National Museum of Surveying
521 E. Washington St., Springfield, (217) 523-3130,
This new museum features exhibits including
Lincoln the Surveyor, The History of Surveying and traveling exhibits such as Science on a Sphere.
Old State Capitol State Historic Site
Old State Capitol Pl., S. 6th St. at E. Adams St., Springfield, (217) 785-7960,
Magnificently restored with period furnishings, this 1837 building is the place where Lincoln delivered his "House Divided" speech and where he lay in state before his burial in Oak Ridge Cemetery.
Vachel Lindsay Home
603 S. 5th St., Springfield, (217) 524-0901,
The 1879 birthplace of the native Springfield pet-artist, this house remained Lindsay's only home until his death here in 1951. The house was built in the 1840s by the same person who built the Lincoln Home.
Christian County Historical Museum and Genealogy Society
Rte 29 at Hwy. 48, Taylorville, (217) 824-6922
This is the original building where Abraham Lincoln practiced law. See this historic home, courthouse, schoolhouse and log house all built between 1820 and 1858. Group tours should make reservations.
Champaign County Courthouse
101 E. Main St., Urbana, (217) 384-3725
Champaign County is a leader in education, health care, government and agriculture. Visit the city's courthouse for a glimpse into the processes of Champaign County lawmaking.
2000 S. Lincoln Ave., Urbana, (217) 244-9934,
Japan House offers the public an opportunity to learn about traditional Japanese culture through tours, tea ceremonies and special events throughout the year.
The Spurlock Museum
600 S. Gregory St., Urbana, (217) 333-2360,
The Spurlock Museum features five galleries celebrating the cultures of Africa, ancient Egypt and Mesopotamia, Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania, the Americas and the ancient Mediterranean.
National Road Interpretive Center
106 s. 5th St., Vandalia, (618) 283-2728,
Learn about the history of travel and transportation in the early days of our country and how the National Road helped open the West.
Vandalia State House State Historic Site
315 W. Gallatin St., Vandalia, (618) 283-1161,
The oldest surviving capitol building in the state, the Vandalia State House is full of history and antiquity. See the very place where Abraham Lincoln served while in the House of Representatives.
The Livingston County War Museum will be honored by the Illinois Association of Museum as its Volunteer Institution of the Year later this month in Springfield. The museum honors the men and women from the area who have served in the military.