Erik Burgess, Published October 20 2013
Old Moorhead power plant set for demolition
On Tuesday, Moorhead Public Service officials are set to award a bid for demolition of the more than 100-year-old brick building, which sits on the riverbank just west of Woodlawn Park.
MPS General Manager Bill Schwandt said they received good bids for demolition and environmental cleanup. Engineers had estimated a $1.25 million price tag, and the lowest bid was $1.08 million, Schwandt said.
Schwandt said he expects the bid to be awarded at Tuesday's MPS Commission meeting, 4:30 p.m. in the City Council chambers, 500 Center Ave. Demolition could begin late this year.
The community had at one time hoped to turn the large brick building into a public gathering space, but a 2012 geotechnical report found that about 20 percent of the building is slowly slumping into the river.
To stabilize the bank and make repurposing the building possible would cost upward of $3 million. The community task force charged with finding new use for the building was disbanded early this year.
The plant has not been fully operational for some time. One of its four generators was still being used until August 2011. MPS was leasing it to Missouri River Energy Services, from whom the city gets around 50 percent of its energy.
That generator was built in the mid-1950s and was actually the newest one in the plant, Schwandt said. The other generators dated as far back as the 1920s and were difficult to find parts for.
Moorhead began using five new generators on the east side of town in 2011.
The city already did about 80 of the environmental cleanup to the old power plant in 2008-09 when Moorhead was considering moving the library to the site.
Schwandt said about $700,000 was spent on cleaning up asbestos and mercury on the site at that time.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518