Neighbors in Scott Township (just west of Champaign) don't want the water company's new treatment plant by their homes. Illinois American Water is planning to build a 51-million dollar treatment plant, just north of Interstate 72.
One thing neighbors worry about is the aesthetics of the plant. The facility on Mattis Avenue is about 13 acres. The new one outside of town is supposed to be about three times that size. And neighbors say they don't want that in their backyards.
"That will dominate our view here..and that will be the only thing that dominates the view ..since they'll have towers that stand 80 feet," says Roger Armstrong. His home is right across the street from the proposed site. He says it will destroy his picturesque view in the country. It's something he worked hard to create by hand. "I do have to say it virtually brings me to tears thinking about them being over there."
He organized a meeting with neighbors to help fight Illinois American Water. The company says it needs to build a new facility to accommodate the growing demand and population in Champaign County. Neighbors say they understand that. They just don't want the facility by them.
Tom Fielder owns property next to the proposed site. He wants to know why they'd put an industrial site there, where people's homes are. He says "its a natural transition area for Champaign for residential areas to come". He says the facility would be better off next to one of the nearby plants, like Anderson's Grain, which is just north of the proposed site.
The water company says it chose the site after studies said the area is ideal to provide the amount of water needed to meet the future needs. Construction is set to begin later this year, but the company still needs to get proper zoning for the land. And some neighbors hope that doesn't happen.
Joseph Storch, property owner, says "I really feel it's unfair that the city should put its arms out here, grab our land, take it and give it to a German company to build a factory."
The neighbors plan to go the City of Champaign's zoning meeting on Wednesday to express their concerns. The water company plans to hold meetings with them in the future to make sure they stay informed about the decisions being made.