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Project sparks questions

September 14, 2012
Jenn Brookens - Staff Writer , Fairmont Sentinel

FAIRMONT - Landowners whose property might be affected by a proposed regional 345-kilovolt transmission line were invited to an open house by ITC Midwest on Thursday.

Martin County was the last stop for the company, which hosted similar meetings in Jackson and Faribault counties earlier this week. The company plans to install a transmission line that runs from Lakefield to a new substation near Huntley, and then down to Iowa.

Some Martin County landowners are familiar with ITC because of the company's project by Lake Charlotte, just north of Fairmont, this past summer.

Article Photos

LET’S?SEE?— Ellen Brenna, right, of contractor Burns & McDonnell, looks at a map with Dale Saunders of Guckeen to see if proposed plans for a regional transmission line go through his property. Saunders and his wife Shirley, left, were pleased to learn their property would not be directly affected.

"We had about 150 people turn out total for the Jackson and Faribault County meetings," said ITC area manager Lori Broghammer. "So far, we've had over 100 people here [in Fairmont], so we've had good turnouts."

Most attending are curious about what's going on, while a few were concerned.

"We just want to know what's going on and what's it going to cost," said Shirley Saunders of rural Faribault County. She and her husband, Dale, have property near Guckeen, on the Faribault/Martin County line.

Many ITC representatives, along with contractors from Burns & McDonnell, were on hand to answer questions.

"It's very helpful to us to have people turn out," said Tom Petersen, director of communications for ITC. "Location seems to be the No. 1 thing people ask about. The good news about this is that no decisions are being made right now. We're getting input that will help us decide. It's good to be able to talk to people with no agenda, so we can get input and hear concerns, and we get great feedback."

Most walked away content with the answers they received.

"I'm satisfied so far," Dale Saunders said after speaking with a Burns & McDonnell representative. "They have three options and one runs two miles away and the other is a mile and a half away in the other direction. But I'm still curious about where it will go."

"We appreciate that it has to go somewhere," said Terry Savidge, a supervisor of Manyaska Township. "It doesn't affect my property at this time, but it does affect a few landowners in Manyaska Township."

"Landowners have been incredibly gracious in sharing their thoughts," Petersen said. "There's nothing that can take the place of getting to see the people, and they've appreciated this process. ... We had one landowner send us a thank you note already."

The meetings were just the start in moving forward with what will be a lengthy project.

"We're looking at 2017, so it's going to be a long process," Petersen said. "We might be going quiet for awhile after this, but that's because we're processing all this feedback we're getting and trying to figure out the best option for all."



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