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Plans in motion for former power plant in Pleasant Prairie
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Plans in motion for former power plant in Pleasant Prairie

From the Collection: Developments in Pleasant Prairie series
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WE ENERGIES POWER PLANT

The We Energies power plant in Pleasant Prairie was shut down in 2018. Village staff members recently met with officials from WE Energies to lay out a timeline and discuss possibilities for the site.

PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The future of the Pleasant Prairie Power Plant that closed in 2018 remains uncertain today.

But the plans for whatever will happen there are in the works.

During a brief Pleasant Prairie Village Board meeting held virtually Monday night, Administrator Nathan Thiel said staff members recently met with officials from We Energies to lay out a timeline and discuss possibilities for the site.

The plant, located in the 8000 block of 95th Street, covers 570 acres and stretches north to Highway 50.

Permits should be secured soon, Thiel said, with demolition beginning in July. The project should be completed next December.

From there, it’s expected WE Energies will begin looking at developments and possible land sales on the property. Thiel said the company plans to retain about 80 acres for its substation and transmission lines and sell the rest.

“Currently, they don’t have any specific land buyer or developers,” Thiel said. “But they are actively soliciting and will be taking inquiries regarding that property.”

Thiel said on the village side of things, future roadways, connections and other issues were discussed. Another meeting is planned for the fall.

The power plant went into service in 1980, and since then was one of the biggest coal-fired power plants in the region, burning 13,000 to 13,600 tons of coal every day. A decade ago, We Energies invested $325 million in pollution controls at the plant. At the time, the utility estimated that the plant would operate through 2055.

Open house planned

Thiel said a virtual open house for the proposed downtown development, the Village Green Center, is in the works for June 25.

The village’s downtown community hub is being designed by architectural firm and design collective, Rinka, which is based out of Milwaukee.

“We’re hoping to conduct it similar to some of the larger public hearings we’ve held,” Thiel said. “We plan to get that advertised and out to the public this week.”

The proposed Village Green Center mixed-use development consists of about 180 acres, generally located at Springbrook Road, 39th Avenue and Highway 165.

Conceptual planning for Village Green Center was facilitated during a seven-month period with collaboration from about 60 community members. Those involved focused on eight integral themes to create a common vision for the future downtown.

Ordinance approved

The board unanimously approved an ordinance that creates a designated publication and posting method for public village notices.

Former state law required posting in three locations or an official newspaper, but that changed in 2015 to allow municipalities to post notices in one location and on the village website.

The ordinance elects not to designate an official newspaper. Postings will be made at the Village Hall and on its website.

Police efforts praised

Trustee Brock Williamson applauded the efforts of the Police Department and its Chief Dave Smetana, which has seen a significant increase in chases through the village.

To date this year, Pleasant Prairie has been involved in 22 chases, an increase from four all of 2019.

“I think they’ve done a phenomenal job,” Williamson said. “... They’ve been doing what they can to keep everybody safe, especially at this time right now, when they’re putting a lot of hours in and there’s a lot of anxiety.”

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