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Study: Moorhead power plant should be used

Library, museum among ideas

A group studying possible new uses for Moorhead's outdated power plant told city council members Monday that the public is overwhelmingly in favor of preserving the structure.

"They (residents) believe it is an important part of the city and that it should remain public in ownership," said Mark Chekola, chairman of the Moorhead Power Plant Study Group.

Based on feedback that included comments gathered during an open house earlier this month, Chekola outlined a number of possible future uses for the structure.

The ideas include:

- A library

- A community or teen center

- An arts performance center

- A museum.

Chekola said the committee's next step will be to explore the options, or a combination of them, and work at creating images of what they might look like if realized.

He said a second open house is planned, possibly some time in May.

The committee hopes to have a final recommendation ready for the council's review by late fall or early winter 2009.

State officials earlier informed the city that if a plan on how to reuse the building was in place by Feb. 1, the city could expect $1.4 million it could put toward the cost of removing hazardous materials from the site.

City officials said Monday it appeared the deadline would not be met, but they added state officials have told the city it may apply for grant funds in the future if Moorhead decides on a new use for the power plant.