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Erik Burgess, Published April 08 2014

Moorhead Public Service commissioners approve defiant garden

MOORHEAD – Commissioners of the city’s publicly owned utility approved one project on the site of the old power plant Tuesday, while hitting the brakes on another.

Two “gardens” have been proposed for the site of the power plant, which will be demolished this summer: a community solar garden that would allow Moorhead Public Service customers to lease a solar panel and receive a credit for their solar energy use, and an artistic “defiant garden.”

MPS commissioners said they generally liked the solar panel idea, but many wondered if the panels could be placed elsewhere in town because the city may want to redevelop that site in other ways as part of the river corridor redevelopment project.

Dennis Eisenbraun, MPS’ energy services manager, said there seemed to be “good karma” in demolishing the old power plant and replacing it with solar panels but that he was open to putting them elsewhere.

MPS commissioners accepted an initial report on the proposed solar garden. The item will be in front of the City Council for discussion later this month.

Commissioners also unanimously approved the proposed “defiant garden” near the power plant site on the southern edge of Woodlawn Park.

The garden, which will be maintained by the Plains Art Museum and Concordia College, will feature an earthen amphitheater, perennial and native flora, and salvaged pieces of the power plant displayed as sculptures.

“I think it’s really a model of how public art can be done,” said Colleen Sheehy, the museum’s director and CEO.

The defiant garden will begin to take shape once the power plant is totally demolished, she said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Erik Burgess at (701) 241-5518