MOUNT PULASKI, Ill. (WAND)- During a downtown tour in Mount Pulaski Tuesday, community leaders described their plans to use wind farm funds for community development.
Enel-North America, which operates a wind farm nearby, donated $250,000 up-front for economic development in Mt. Pulaski; the company has also pledged hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to schools, local townships and the economic development effort, officials explained.
“In order to sustain the growth of this industry, we need to make investments in the community that enrich not only the community but also provide those amenities and services that make employees want to live and work in the same area,” explained Christopher Hardy, Senior Manager of Community and Public Affairs.
“Small rural communities are continuing to fail and just hoping it gets better,” said chairman Tom Martin. “I think our citizens have said we’re not going to hope anymore. We’re going to do something about it. I like the idea that we’re driving the stake into the sand and we’re not going backward anymore.”
Some of those funds are helping pay for a revitalization study on the Mount Pulaski town square. Funds are also helping develop a grocery co-op to open in 2020.
“There’s a strong focus on fresh produce and fresh local meats,” said Shaun Tyson during the tour. “It’s very much a scaled-down, old-school grocery store.”
The company is also donating to the Mount Pulaski school district and to Zion Lutheran School, along with local townships and other bodies.