Wind turbine coming to Block 34

Block 34 Project

This virtual image represents the current state of Block 34 in downtown Stillwater.

The Block 34 Citizen’s Task Force approved a sculptural wind turbine for the empty lot in downtown Stillwater on Thursday afternoon.

Seven Oklahoma State students presented their idea for the sculptural wind turbine. The project passed by unanimous vote.

The students hope to have city council’s approval by March 4 and have the project finished by the end of April.

The 40-foot-tall structure will have five vertical turbines beneath the main turbine. It is designed to be self-sustainable through wind and solar power. Although the turbine will only power itself to begin with, it could potentially produce power for other things in the future.

There will be lights on the structure and ground along with spotlights that will shine on the structure.

Victoria Berry, the vice chair of the task force, said the structure will produce a light show at night. This brings the artistic side to the project.

“It would be something that would draw our community downtown for an event,” Berry said.

Jim Beckstrom, the Block 34 Task Force Chair, said the sculptural wind turbine is a versatile structure.

“It’s movable, it’s bolted in and if we need to move it, we can move it,” Beckstrom said. “They can change out turbines, and you can replace turbines with sculptures. You have lots of optionality because of the way this thing is put together.”

Funding for the project will come from a $15,000 grant from the Grand River Dam Authority. Beckstrom said the rest will come from the City of Stillwater and OSU.

Patti Osmus, assistant to the city manager, was in attendance for the meeting. She said that the sculpture will be a lighthouse for downtown Stillwater.

“I think it’ll kind of be like a beacon to call people downtown and come see what it is and hopefully bring them down to Main street,” Osmus said.

The task force was created by the city council in 2017 to explore the best options for the empty lot in downtown Stillwater.

Four of the five task force members were present for the meeting. Task force trustee Pat Zimmerman was not in attendance. Beckstrom said the BancFirst President was gone for business reasons.

About 30 people attended the meeting. Most were students talking about their progress on their respective projects.

There was only one member of the public in attendance at the meeting. Chris Peters works at the co-working center downtown. Peters said he is skeptical of the project.

“I think there is a heck of a lot of potential” Peters said. “I think ultimately it’s positive. Just more people need to be involved in knowing what is going on.”