LOGANSPORT, Ind. (WLFI) — Excavators on Thursday ripped into an old water treatment plant as part of $1.6 million demolition of two blighted utility facilities.
Logansport's old power generating plant was built in the late 1800s, while the former water treatment plant behind was built in the 1950s. But they've both become vacant since they were decommissioned in the last 10 years.
Greg Toth, superintendent of Logansport Municipal Utilities, says they're relics of the past from a time when the city got drinking water and electricity using outdated processes
"We were taking the water out of the Eel River, processing it for drinking water," Toth says. "Now, we use a well system that gives us fresh drinking water. Just made this unnecessary and redundant."
Also to be demolished: The former coal-fired power plant.
"We currently buy our power on the open market, which is significantly cheaper for us," Toth says.
The plants take up several acres of prime real estate on the Eel River. Logansport Mayor Chris Martin says the demolition is an opportunity to develop the riverfront.
"With these eyesores gone, I think we see a lot more potential ... we're looking to the community for ideas on, 'What do you think would be best in these locations as they come down,'" he says.
They've sat vacant for the last decade after they were decommissioned. So why tear them down now?
"Just as recently as two years ago we were getting estimates of about $7 million to tear down these two facilities and all of the outbuildings and just because of what we're seeing the market now for reclaimed steel and brick, estimates were coming in significantly lower, so we had to act fast."
Items of historical and nostalgic value were removed before the demolition.
"They're eyesores today but we have to look back and think about the hundreds of employees that worked at these plants producing the fresh water and the energy for the city and the surrounding area and we took a lot of time to go through and find pieces of historical significance and nostalgic value," Toth says. "We've pulled all those things out."
That's a nod to the past while looking forward to the future.
"The way it's always been is no longer working, we hear that," Martin says, "so really latching onto our history but making sure we're forward is the goal here."
As part of the project, two low-head dams on the Eel River will also be removed. Martin says that will improve recreational opportunities in the city.