Feds give riverfront hydro project more time

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August 2, 2004 // UPDATED 2:50 pm - April 25, 2007
By: Scott Russell
Scott Russell

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) has granted Crown Hydro LLC a 90-day extension to work out a lease with the Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board for Crown Hydro's proposed hydroelectric plant.

The extension expires Sept. 11.

"We are pleased that FERC recognizes the importance of the Crown Hydro project and the process necessary to continue to work on it," said Rob Brown, a project spokesperson.

The Park Board rejected a proposed lease 4-5 May 19. The lease required a six-vote supermajority. Crown Hydro has proposed operating a small hydroelectric plant on the Mississippi River's west bank at St. Anthony Falls. It requested a 50-year lease with a 50-year extension for Mill Ruins Park land near the Stone Arch Bridge.

Brown said Crown Hydro is considering several options, including negotiating new terms with the Park Board, exploring eminent domain options and relocating to the Crown Roller Mill site, 150 5th Ave. S.

Opposition from residents in the new neighborhood that has grown up near the falls and the Minnesota Historical Society's concerns helped defeat the lease.

Crown Hydro had offered the Park Board a financial package that included $750,000 to $1 million for Mill Ruins Park improvements, a $100,000 one-time payment when construction started, a $30,000 annual lease payment, with an escalator and profit-sharing in high-flow years.

For 1999-2003, profit sharing would have added $22,500 a year, according to Crown Hydro estimates.