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Wendy Reuer, Published October 22 2013

Moorhead Public Service picks St. Cloud contractor to demolish old power plant for $1.08 million

MOORHEAD – There will be no implosions here when a Moorhead Public Service contractor begins demolishing the former power plant near Woodlawn Park.

Instead, demolition of the nearly 100-year-old building will be done slowly and carefully by a St. Cloud contractor, after MPS approved its bid Tuesday.

Landwehr Construction was awarded the contract to demolish the former Moorhead power plant with its bid of about $1.08 million.

The low bid brings the total cost of abatement, engineering and demolition to about $1.2 million. MPS previously budgeted $1.5 million for the process, said Bill Schwandt, MPS general manager.

Some residents 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.

At least $3 million would have been needed to stabilize the riverbank.

A community task force charged with finding a new use for the building was disbanded early this year.

After acknowledging the historic building needed to be removed, MPS member Dave Anderson said Tuesday he had been asked if demolition of the building would include implosion.

Travis Schmidt, electrical engineering manager, said the company will use heavy equipment to carefully remove the building and foundation, being careful about environmental concerns because the Moorhead power plant is so close to the Red River.

The power plant has not been fully operational for some time. The city began using five new generators on the east side of town in 2011. Three of the building’s generations were shut down and one was leased out to Missouri River Energy Services.

When the final generator was powered down, the site continued to be an electrical substation for a portion of the city until December 2012.

Schwandt said Tuesday that after the demolition is complete, only grass will remain. He said MPS and the city can then decide what to do with the site.

The city is preparing to establish a redevelopment tax-increment finance district on the site to help lure developers.

At one time, the city considered moving a library there, according to Forum archives.

“It’s a good site for a lot of things,” Schwandt said.

The City Council must also approve the demolition contract, an item that may be scheduled for the council’s Oct. 28 meeting.

If approved, demolition could begin as early as November, Schwandt said Tuesday.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Wendy Reuer at (701) 241-5530