Watertown’s former landfill gets a second chance to become a solar farm

WWNY Watertown’s former landfill gets a second chance to become a solar farm

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Right now, Watertown’s old city landfill isn’t being used for much, but the city has the opportunity to change that.

Last year, Abundant Solar Energy offered the city $2.1 million to lease the land for 30 years and build a solar farm. Council Member Lisa Ruggiero is disappointed the proposal didn’t go anywhere under former City Manager Rick Finn.

“We rely so much on sales tax and the hydro contract but we need to generate new revenue so we are not cutting services either,” she said.

Council Member Ryan Henry-Wilkinson is also interested in a project like this.

“We have this patch of land that we are not doing anything with and if somebody wanted to come in and offer to lease that land for a solar project and generate a little bit of revenue for the city, it would just be the cleanest and easy option right now in the short term,” he said.

There’s also a possibility the city could get help from the state to attract developers. Ruggiero says Jefferson County economic leaders are willing to work with the city to try to get it on a state list for renewable energy projects, which will offer incentives to developers.

“I think that would be a great partnership and something that we should definitely look into,” Ruggiero said.

And now, current City Manager Ken Mix is looking at the original proposal. He says it would put the land to good use.

“It’s a very good idea. It provides revenue for the city because we will be leasing what’s otherwise unusable for anything else. It’s an old landfill and you can’t build on it,” he said.

Mix says he plans to call Abundant Solar Energy.

Ruggiero says, in the meantime, she plans to bring up solar projects under new business at Monday’s City Council meeting.

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