As an early supporter of plans to bring a solar-energy park to Knox County, we're just glad to see local officials finally getting in gear on the writing of whatever kind of local ordinance is necessary.
Whether the work is done at the courthouse here in Vincennes or at an office building up in Indianapolis hardly seems to us something to be arguing about, not at this late stage.
We just don't want to see this opportunity missed.
And it's not only the reported $110 million investment the park could bring; in fact, what with abatements and other probable “enticements” likely to come with this deal, the actual monetary benefit to the county is likely to be much less.
For landowners, it's probably going to be a different story, and good for them.
What having a solar park here, in the heart of what was once “Coal Country” and on what was once coal-mining ground, will do is significantly improve the county's prospects for other new investments — by investors who probably would never have considered Knox County before, but who will now see it as at least a little more progressive than they thought.
Do not misunderstand: we like to see as many of our tax dollars stay here at home as is at all possible.
If left in local hands, no doubt an appropriate ordinance balancing the needs of the solar-energy company against the requirements of the county, could have been produced — eventually.
But circumstances are fluid, and it is better to wave those dollars on their way to the big city if, in return, we get what we need sooner rather than later.
We believe in paying for the privilege of promptness in these matters.
Besides, in the end, local officials will have to decide whether the ordinance, when it is finally produced, does indeed satisfy the requirements of the county.
The final say will be local.
We are against having the solar-energy company agree to pay whatever fees and costs are incurred in the writing of an ordinance.
That perhaps sounds like a good deal — the county getting an ordinance without a dime of out-of-pocket expense.
But that would also leave the public with at least a hint of uncertainty as to whether its interests hadn't been sacrificed in favor of the solar-energy company's interests — the company hadn't benefited from its footing the bill.
Now at least the county is on its way, another step forward into the future, guided in part by the light from a renewable source.