County officials put themselves on the hot seat in the town of Lincoln earlier this month. The question-and-answer session is one step in the process of the Madison County Industrial Development Agency's request for a zone change for a piece of property off Tuttle Road.
IDA Director Kipp Hicks, Madison County Planning Department Director Jacob Miller and Madison County Solid Waste and Recycling Department Director James Zecca attended the meeting to present a plan for bringing industry to the town of Lincoln and to take questions about the project from residents.
Hicks reviewed plans for the IDA to take ownership of a portion of the land near the county landfill. The property is owned by the county and therefore tax-exempt. The first step of the plan calls for a zone change from agricultural/residential (AR) to industrial/commercial (IC).
Once in the control of the IDA, Hicks said, the property would be used for a new conceptual complex: an alternative and renewable energy park or ARE Park, as it is being called. Hicks said the project would attract certain types of industry that could capitalize on the "waste" heat being generated by the landfill gas-to-energy plant under construction at the site.
The implementation of the power generating facility has been delayed because of negotiations with National Grid, according to county officials.
The use of that waste heat -- 2.5 million BTUs, according to Zecca -- and a right of first refusal to purchase the estimated 1.4 megawatts of power expected to be generated by the plan make the site an attractive one for a number of businesses, Hicks said. Several manufacturers have been clued in to the opportunity, he said, and a formal request for proposals for the use of the waste heat will be sent to those expressing interest.
In the end, the property would be turned over to private industry, putting it back on the tax rolls and bringing jobs, tax revenue and goods to the area.