Concerned citizens in the Dike Community are meeting at 6pm on Thursday, January 21, 2021 at the Sulphur Bluff School Cafeteria to discuss the impact of a proposed solar farm in their area. Cynthia Martin has circulated a petition and gathered names against the proposed solar farm that could cover almost 3,000 acres. One land owner in favor of the solar farm owns 1,200 acres in the project, and other residents with small tracts may be excluded, but surrounded by solar panels once the project is complete.
The Hopkins County Commissioner’s Court has already approved the site and designated the area as a “reinvestment zone” in order to grant the company building the project a tax abatement. The two school districts involved in the area (Sulphur Springs and Sulphur Bluff) have also entered into Chapter 313 agreements with the company as well, which would allow significant tax advantages if and when the project is built. Some residents in the area that have signed lease agreements, are confident that the project will go through and have already started substantial land clearing to get ready.
Some residents are concerned of the damage done to roads in their area, as logging trucks involved in clearing of land are already taking a toll on the roads. The transportation of over 1.6 million solar panels into the area, as well as concrete and other materials will certainly be more traffic than those county roads have seen in decades. County officials are confident that damage caused to the roads by the solar company will be covered.
Several residents have been concerned about the project and it’s effects on the area’s wildlife as well as flooding concerns. Other residents stated they didn’t know about the previous public meetings being held at the three different entities that have had discussions on the matter.
Meeting organizers urge all citizens in the proposed solar farm region to attend the meeting especially those residents on the County Roads that could be affected by the construction.