Mayor: Power Plant Closure Presents Challenges, Opportunity
Kimberley Driscoll said the closure will impact Salem's 'bottom line,' may open up waterfront opportunities.
In response to the announcement that Dominion will close Salem Harbor Power Station by June 1, 2014, Mayor Kimberley Driscoll said closure poses challenges and opportunity for the City.
Driscoll said "the power plant is — far and away — the largest taxpayer in the City and its ceasing operation will have real impacts to the City's finances."
With "only a three-year window to plan for this site's future development, we must get to work immediately," she said.
Driscoll cited the $200,000 grant the City has obtained from the Clean Energy Center as key to providing funding necessary to plan for future use of the property. The City is in the process of working with engineers and planners on different re-use scenarios.
"In addition, we have already started to reach out to state and federal officials to ask for their cooperation and assistance in planning for the future of the Salem Harbor Power Plant. Thus far, these officials have expressed a willingness to be involved and assist the City in anyway possible," Driscoll said.
Though the process will be a challenging one, the mayor said she is excited about the prospects for the site and its potential benefit to Salem.
The changes will mark a transition from the "less efficient carbon based power generating facility into an attractive, cleaner, renewable energy resource to the City, not to mention other waterfront related redevelopment options that may exist," she added.
In her statement, Driscoll also acknowledged Dominion for its civic partnership and support of City causes.
"I look forward to working with Dominion and all interested stakeholders in making sure that this site does not stay dormant following the power plant’s closure and planning for a bright new future for this site and for all of Salem," she said.