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Ripley solar project progresses

Construction on the South Ripley Solar Project has been progressing.

RIPLEY — The Town Board approved a resolution to accept the South Ripley Solar Project road use agreement with ConnectGen at their meeting in April.

The agreement, which has been in the works since April, 2023, stipulates conditions for repairs to Route 76 where the solar array will be located. “The town is doing all it possibly can to make sure that all safety measures are in place, not only for the town, but for the road,” said Supervisor Laura Pless. “Large equipment moving back and forth could possibly damage the road.”

Town Attorney Ben Wisniewski noted the agreement has been reviewed by two supervisors and has been renegotiated to an ‘acceptable compromise’ for fixing the road.

The resolution states that ‘the town board authorizes and approves the road use agreement, between the company and town, as presented to the town board and the town supervisor is authorized and directed to execute and deliver the road use agreement, and to execute such other documents as may be reasonably necessary to give force and effect to that agreement.’

In other business, council members approved an upgrade to the internet service provided by Consolidated Communications. Pless explained that, while this upgrade will increase the cost of the town’s internet service, next month the board will vote on an upgrade to the phone service, which will provide savings to offset that cost.

The upgrade to the phone system will eliminate cell phones and extra lines and will save the town $150 to $200 a month, Pless said. The system will now feature a single line for all calls, which can then be transferred to any department.

‘Kudos go to Nicole Gollhardt, our Deputy Clerk, and to Ryleigh Enterline, our Town Clerk, for putting this together,’ Pless said.

Enterline also praised Gollhardt for the background work she had done to upgrade the phone system. “Nicole compiled a long list of phone vendors and then compared them to find the best one,” she said. “Thanks to her hard work, we will have extra savings each month.”

Also in her report, Enterline noted the door to open the sign board in front of the town building, has become bowed because of weather. She told council members that the sign is under warranty, so the new board will be free, but the shipping cost is $350. Council members approved a motion to allow Enterline to pay the shipping cost.

During the public participation segment, Richard Eimers, who lives on Sidehill Road, addressed the board about his property at 13 W. Main St., which was formerly the post office. Eimers said he has been renovating the 2,800-square-foot structure, which was close to being condemed when he purchased it.

“It is an excellent structure,” Eimers said. “I would like to see it used in some way to benefit senior citizens and I’m asking if the town will give me some leniency in taxes.”

Pless said she would follow up with Eimers to explore options for the property. “I would just as soon reach out to you personally and have you come in and sit down and talk about it,” she said.

Eimers also asked the board to look into putting up a billboard advertising the Town of Ripley directly across from the entrance into Love’s Travel Center. “We need to give people a reason to come to Ripley,” he said.

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