LANSING, Mich. — The Eckert Power Station just of Lansing's downtown closed last month. Now, some may be wondering what’s next for its building and the iconic smokestacks.
“It's earned a right to retire,” said Eckert Power Station General Manager Dick Peffley.
That right to retire comes nearly 100 years after the plant opened on Island Avenue and workers began loading coal into furnaces to create steam for electricity to power the city.
“The building served two purposes,” Peffley said. “It was a generating station which made electricity but it's other function it was a substation that took electricity and distributed it through our service area."
BWL officials agreed to close the plant by the end of 2020 as part of a settlement agreement with the Sierra Club, a national environmental organization, that threatened to sue for what it said were violations of the Clean Air Act.
“I’m glad they reached out and worked with BWL to shut the plant, sooner than it might have been required under the EPA guidance,” said Jeff Barker, president of the REO Town Commercial Association.
Barker lives in the neighborhood and he said closing the plant will provide better air quality in the community, and more possibilities for developments.
“Most of the commercial association is pretty excited that the plant will be closing as a power plant,” Barker said. “We look forward to its new use, maybe some residential use and maybe some office space.”
Officials with BWL hope to sell the place, but it will take 7 to 10 years, because they need time to move some of the equipment that’s been there for years. Officials also say they’re going to try to keep the iconic smokestacks.