Commissioners discuss county internet, solar farms


GREENVILLE — The Darke County Board of Commissioners met Wednesday afternoon to discuss an upcoming construction project, county internet and solar farms. Commissioners Mike Stegall and Larry Holmes were present. Commissioner Matt Aultman was absent.

The board approved plans presented by Darke County Facilities and Safety Manager Rick Lee for an upcoming soffit replacement at the Garst Government Center. The project will be completed by Arcon Builders out of Arcanum, have a completion time of four weeks and will cost a proposed sum of $41,395.

Next, Commissioner Larry Holmes discussed the Ohio State Senate’s recent decision to cut proposed broadband funding from its potential budget. He said the commissioners will address it soon, as it greatly affects many people in underserved parts of the county.

Commissioner Matt Stegall added that the state cut nearly $200 million from the budget, which he said could’ve gone a long way for rural counties. He added the commissioners plan to work with the state to receive some form of broadband funding.

Lastly, representatives from Apex Clean Energy, Inc. answered the commissioners’ questions and discussed The Painter Creek Solar Project that is set to begin commercial operation in 2024.

Apex Development Manager Dalton Carr updated the board on the project and their progress thus far.

“The project is utility-scale solar,” he said. “We are south of Greenville, at the juncture between Greenville Township, Neave Township and Van Buren Township. It starts at US St. Rt. 36, leaving Greenville, then turns on Jaysville St. John. We’ve got around that amount of acreage now. The project size is 165 megawatts, which is just about all we’ll need. The panel coverage will be about 1,000 acres. We have more than that now, but it comes down to the design.”

Carr told the commissioners that Apex has a cohort of 60 farmers involved in the project. Most of the permits for this project are through the state, and Carr added that they hope to enter state permitting at the very start of 2022. As far as county involvement, the board will need to review and approve a Road Use and Maintenance Agreement related to the project, and a tax program related to the project.

Now that COVID-19 restrictions have mostly been lifted, Carr said they will soon be able to get out, have events in the county and answer any questions people have about the project. There will be two formal public meetings on the project where community members can express concerns or ask questions, but Carr said they will have additional opportunities for the public to discuss the project with Apex representatives as well.

The Darke County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at the county administrative office located at 520 S. Broadway in Greenville. For more information, contact the commissioner’s office at 937-547-7370.

By Abigail Miller

Reach Abigail at [email protected]

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