, 2023-05-04 18:49:00,
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) – By mid-summer of next year (2024), the city of Springfield is expected to finish its plan for the future of the Lake Springfield-James River Power Station reuse project, which will be an economic development catalyst for the decommissioned plant and the body of water built to serve it.
On Thursday, the city of Springfield and City Utilities hosted its second public meeting and open house, along with tours of the power station, to update the community on the planning process and gather input.
Built in 1956 and opened a year later, the James River Power Station has played an important part in supplying electricity during Springfield’s population growth of more than 100,000 people.
But after 63 years of service, the plant was decommissioned in 2021. When the smokestacks came tumbling down in 2022, it signaled a new chapter for the facility and the adjoining Lake Springfield that was built to serve the power station’s cooling needs.
“What we’re looking to do is everything from growing the tax base to bringing in new businesses plus potential housing, recreational opportunities and making this a destination not just for Springfield but for the region as a whole,” said Danny Perches, the Assistant Director of Economic Vitality for the city.
With $1 million of federal and local funding, the city is working with the Crawford, Murphy, and Tilly engineering and consulting firm to assemble the plan, which involves 1,000 acres around the power station.
Although many ideas are still on the table, the overall consensus seems to be that the lake should have some sort of recreational aspects to it and that the power station, because of its historical significance, should be repurposed but not completely torn down.
As for the lake, it’s shallow in most places, making it currently incapable of being used by motorboats for skiing. And considering a dam was put in place on the James River to create the lake, there’s also the option of removing the dam.
“The water comes from the James River, so do we bring it back to just a river or keep it as a lake as it currently is?” Perches said. “There would have to be a lot of steps taken to get more recreation in the water. The portions of the water that are the river channel are the deepest parts, but the lake part is pretty shallow at four-to-five feet.”
“I think we can do whatever the community envisions,” said Steve Stodden, City Utilities Vice-President, and Chief Natural Gas-Water…
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