City accepts bid for power plant demo

By LEANN BURKE
lburke@dcherald.com

JASPER — The Utility Service Board approved a demolition bid for the 15th Street power plant from Green Earth Technologies Group of Wilmington, Delaware, Monday, following the recommendation of the board’s electric committee.

According to the bid, Green Earth Technologies will demolish the power plant and associated structures and pay Jasper Municipal Utilities $70,000 for salvaged materials. After demolition, the power plant site will turn into a large, grassy area, which will remain under the utilities’ ownership.

The final contract phase of the project has already begun. Once the contract is approved, Green Earth Technologies will have 180 days to complete the work.

Electric Commissioner Wayne Schuetter said he expects contract negotiations to go smoothly.

Most of the discussion preceding the decision happened in electric committee meetings, the last of which was held Thursday, May 3. During the meeting, the committee discussed the four options Green Earth Technologies submitted — two that involved deconstruction only and two that involved the purchase of the property in addition to deconstruction — and ultimately chose the option that only deconstructed the power plant and associated structures. The old coal bins, which the street department currently uses to store road salt, and some structures used by the parks department will remain.

The committee cited the city’s upcoming comprehensive plan and uncertainty about what kind of development Green Earth Technologies would build on the site if the utilities sold it as reasons for retaining ownership. The city is beginning a new comprehensive planning process, which will include the utilities and look to future development in the city. Schuetter suggested the plan might find a use for the property the power plant currently sits on.

“I think that property might become valuable, not only to the utilities but to the city,” Schuetter said at the committee meeting.

He cited the possibility of the Midstate Corridor running to the east of Jasper in the future as well as the possibility of future development on the city’s northeast side as a reason to keep the land.

Pecos Properties LLC of Evansville has been renting the maintenance building on the property to test a prototype of a water filtration system; however, the maintenance building is one of the structures that is slated for demolition. The current lease with Pecos Properties ends this month, but the board voted to allow the company to remain on-site until the demolition contract with Green Earth Technologies is finalized. The board selected Green Earth Technologies’ bid from a pool of 14 bids for demolition or repurposing of the plant, which has not provided electricity to the city since 2008.




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