Small town fight over big-time power plant in Shelby County

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MORRISTOWN — The small town of Morristown is divided over a proposal by national company Tenaska to build a natural gas power plant in the area.

Tenaska, a company out of Omaha, is evaluating a 98-acre plot of cornfields for the plant. The company said it would connect up to the grid and provide a $500 million construction project to Shelby County.

The site is in an existing Morristown industrial park, already home to a large soybean-processing plant. Still, some residents said a power plant is a different matter.

“I think that you have to draw the line somewhere. You can have too much industry in a tiny little town like this,” resident Sara Goedde said.

Goedde is heading up a group of residents who oppose the project. They’ve posted “Stop Tenaska” signs around town and sounded off on a Facebook page. The argument there has gotten heated, coming to a head with the Morristown town council.

“We all (need to) work together. We just can’t go out here talking about people (on Facebook). I just don’t believe in that stuff,” council President Ralph Henderson said.

Henderson said the town council itself has questions about the project and that Tenaska has not made any plans or concrete proposals to build in Shelby County.

“No plans have been turned in or papers signed on our part,” Henderson said.

Tenaska representatives will be on hand at a town council meeting Wednesday to answer questions from council members and the public. It’s scheduled for 7 p.m. at town hall.