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Great Lakes Article:

Wind may provide some of the city's future power

By Andrew Debraber
The Grand Rapids Press

ZEELAND -- In 2003, Zeeland may well have wind-generated power available, according to David Walters, general manager of the Zeeland Board of Public Works.

Walters submitted a proposed budget for 2003 to the City Council that includes $1 million for the construction of a wind power generator to provide a small portion of the BPW's electric needs. If all goes well, more may be constructed.

Council members learned of the plan Tuesday while meeting about the budget. They will meet again at 5:30 p.m. today to wrap up their discussions. Topics to be discussed include streets, $6.5 in capital improvements, and the mayor's and City Council budgets.

Following their budget discussion tonight, the council will take up the issue of the Shopping Area Redevelopment Board, which came under fire Monday from council members Kevin Klynstra and Bob Karsten when they recommended it be eliminated.

Recognizing they hold a minority opinion on the council, Klynstra on Tuesday said he and Karsten are willing to postpone the discussion until a later time, but other board members felt a need to clear the air.

Councilman Don Van Ommen pushed to "have time for the majority opinion."

"We owe it to the SARB committee and everyone else to let them know where we're at," Van Ommen said.

In another matter, the council agreed to leave $20,000 in the budget to hire a consultant in 2003 to help it come up with a long-range vision for the city, one of the council's stated goals.

Karsten, who was unable to attend Tuesday's meeting due to back trouble, sent notice that he opposed the $20,000 "because he feels it could be done in-house."

"Sometimes it's good to have an outside person to help with this," council member Sally Gruppen said.

Librarian Tara Conaway reported to the council that circulation is up 6 percent this year. She also noted that computer usage has increased this year and the library is approaching its capacity with a collection of 66,572 books.

Herman Miller recently made a $10,000 donation to the library to replace and refurbish the children's and young adult collections, she said, which "will make the whole collection look better." Books for children ages 2 to 12 remains the library's most used.

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