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Dave Zajac Record-Journal
The main building of the abandoned power plant on Meriden’s Cathole Mountain, Friday, July 26, 2013. (Dave Zajac/Record-Journal)

Demolition of abandoned power plant starts next month

MERIDEN — Demolition of the abandoned power plant atop Cathole Mountain will begin next month under an agreement between the city and the plant’s owner.

The city and NRG finalized a settlement over the abandoned power plant building on South Mountain Road earlier this month. It calls for NRG to begin demolition by Jan. 31 and complete the work by June 30. Since first proposed about 15 years ago, city officials and residents have been concerned about the visual impact of the 82-foot-tall structure.

In addition to the demolition, the city will receive $500,000 in two installments before June 30. Beginning in the 2014-15 fiscal year, the city will receive an annual tax payment of $71,886.96 from NRG after the fair market value of the property was set at $2.93 million. Meriden will keep $701,800 in performance bonds since work on the plant and surrounding property was not finished.

City Manager Lawrence J. Kendzior said he is glad demolition will begin early next year.

“We were pleased with the outcome of the (Connecticut Siting Council) hearings (and) relieved to bring this dispute with NRG to a satisfactory conclusion,” Kendzior said.

NRG, doing business as Meriden Gas Turbines, owns the abandoned plant, which includes two buildings, a fuel tank and water tank on more than 36 acres. A 544-megawatt, natural gas-fired generating plant was planned, but financial problems and declining need for power generation halted the work.

In April 2012, NRG notified the city it was abandoning the project.

A previous tax agreement called for the city to receive upwards of $100 million over 30 years. The city received about $30 million, in addition to being given close to 300 acres of land as part of the original approval of the project more than a decade ago. The city’s planning staff is working to rezone the property with hopes of developing close to half while leaving the other half as open space.

City Councilor Brian Daniels believes the deal allows the city to move forward.

“It’s always better to have a resolution reached with a mutual agreement than spending years and years and years in administrative proceedings and appeals through the court system,” said Daniels, a lawyer in private practice. “This is not an insignificant issue to have behind us.”

NRG spokesman David Gaier did not have any further comment on the settlement, plans for demolition or future site plans.

dbrechlin@recordjournal.com 203-317-2266 Twitter: @DanBrechlinRJ



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