Some may think that is is a Friday fun post on Monday but it is not. My neighbors, and our City Council Rep, Dave Thune, all know that I am serious about this. I started talking about it in late 2005 when I learned that there would be a new power plant. I sent an email to Ed Johnson of the Fort Road Federation suggesting that we keep the stack, or that we at least consider it. We don’t own it Xcel energy does, but our city has a great deal of influence over river front development.
The old coal burning highbride plant will soon be replaced with a gas burning power plant. As a result the old plant will be demolished. I would like to see the stack from the plant saved. Why would I care about a smokestack? Why not? We preserve grain elevators and tiny homes that were built in the mid 1800′s why would we demolish a landmark? The stack is 556 feet tall and can be seen for miles. It is also a home for the peregrine falcons. (See the live cam)
Peregrine falcons are most at home high in the sky, where they "skydive" for prey. By installing nest boxes at a height of 300- 600 feet above the ground, they created an environment similar to the high cliffs they prefer.
Millions of dollars were used to save, move and preserve the Cape Hatteras Light house, and it does not look all that different from our smokestack. With a little paint we could achieve the same effect.
I understand why people don’t get all excited about saving a smokestack but I think we should consider it. Once the plant is removed the land will be green space. No one would dream of demolishing the vacant Island station plant just up river.
As for much of the rest of the power plant I don’t imagine anyone will miss it too much. Personally I will be happy when the coal piles are gone. A couple of years ago on a windy day the coal dust got into our house making me wonder how much coal dust we have inhaled over last 25 years, and why in a state where everything is illegal no one talks about the health hazards associated with living near a coal pile.
I have a neighbor who admits that he finds the blinking red light on the top of the stack comforting. I can relate and have been known to sit on the back porch at night and watch the lights blink on and off.