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Published April 09 2014

Forum editorial: Moorhead ‘gardens’ great idea

A proposal in Moorhead to establish unique “gardens” on the site of a soon-to-be razed power plant is visionary. Not only will it put to good use an attractive tract of urban land, it also will add to the arts base and environmental stewardship that can distinguish a forward-thinking city.

The initial idea is to build a defiant garden and a solar garden on land now occupied by the old municipal power plant building, which will be demolished. The site is near Woodlawn Park and has the potential to be among the most scenic spots in the city.

The innovative project is the brainchild of Moorhead Public Service personnel. The board approved the defiant concept but wants to go slower on the solar garden, giving consideration to a different site for a small solar array. The concepts move on for review by the City Council, likely next month.

If fully approved, the elements of the plan can evolve into public space features that engage Moorhead electricity users, and open an area to both educational and recreational opportunities. The art aspects of the gardens are being developed in conjunction with the Plains Art Museum and Concordia College.

The defiant garden would feature an earthen amphitheater and performance stage, along with a sculpture garden featuring pieces made from materials salvaged from the power plant. The space’s flower, tree and shrub plantings would be described by individual audio stations.

The solar garden could be another community space with solar energy panels connected to the MPS system, whereby patrons could buy into the clean power of the sun. The initial capacity of about 25 kilowatts of solar power could eventually expand to 200 kW.

The possibilities for the proposed gardens are limited only by the imagination of Moorhead leaders and residents. The site (or sites) could, in short time, emerge as an example for cities to make marvelous use of public land that, in this case, has been unused for years. It’s a great idea that, if fully realized, will be a jewel in FM’s urban crown.

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Forum editorials represent the opinion of Forum management and the newspaper’s Editorial Board.