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Whirlpool announces wind turbines to power Marion County plant

Whirlpool is planning a wind-turbine farm at its Marion County plant and community leaders say the move sends a positive message.

Millions of investment dollars are blowing into Marion County.   

Whirlpool is planning a wind-turbine farm at its Marion County plant and community leaders say the move sends a positive message.

Jody Beery has lived in her Marion County neighborhood for 37 years.

"It's always been a great neighborhood,” she said.

Like the howl of the train, she's grown used to heavy traffic coming and going from her largest neighbor, Whirlpool.

"If you want to go somewhere you better leave before they let out at three o'clock,” she said.

But where some might see a nuisance, she sees opportunity.

"Columbus is an hour away,” she said. “And it’s so much nicer that we've got that employer here. A lot of the people I know that are working there have been there a long time,” Beery said.

Whirlpool's Marion plant employs 2,500 workers, building more than 20,000 clothes dryers a day.

"They are the largest dryer manufacturer in the world, so they are a huge asset in the central Ohio region,” Gus Comstock, Director of Marion County’s economic development organization, said.

This week, Whirlpool announced plans to build wind turbines at its plants in Ottawa and Marion, with a total price tag of $13.5 million.

The three turbines in Marion will supply 19 percent of the plant's electric consumption, which Whirlpool says will eliminate the equivalent of more than 9,000 tons of carbon dioxide.

"We're always excited when our biggest employer in the county makes an investment like this,” Marion Mayor Scott Schertzer said.

Marion leaders say it's a sign of commitment to the community, and sends a message to other employers.

"It sort of adds a tremendous amount of value to Marion as a place for companies to consider for new sites, expansions, relocations,” Comstock said.

Beery isn't worried about the site of towering turbines on the horizon. From where she sits, what's good for Whirlpool is good for Marion.

"They're just a great neighbor," she said.

Whirlpool said the Marion turbines are expected to be completed in early 2017.