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Avon Lake plans to close nearly 100-year-old power plant, redevelop site

The facility is barely operational anymore, but still employs 55 people.

AVON LAKE, Ohio — The nearly century-old power plant in Avon Lake is set to close later this year.

The city announced Wednesday that the NGR Energy facility along the shores of Lake Erie will shut down for good pending a 90-day review by market regulator PJM. The plan will allow for redevelopment of the public lakefront space along Lake Road.

"We're excited about this remarkable opportunity for a transformative redevelopment for Avon Lake," Mayor Gregory Zilka said in a statement. "This project will open up a prime 40-acre site on Lake Erie to the public, while also allowing us to take a giant step forward in cleaning up our environment and improving the quality of life for everyone in our community."

Originally opened in 1924, the coal-powered plant now operates for only about 50 days each year and rarely supplies energy for the city. However, 55 people still work there, and operator GenOn Energy Holdings is currently working to provide them with "customary benefits."

"We know this will be a challenging time for them, and the City will work with our partners at Ohio Means Jobs Lorain County to aid in their transition," Zilka said of the employees.

The plant is expected to be mostly demolished over the next two to three years, and so far the city has given scant details regarding a potential buyer or the "once-in-a-lifetime" development opportunity. While property tax revenue will decline in the short term, Zika claims that will be offset by eventual new housing, businesses, and cleaner energy.

"The innovative skills of our partners combined with our determination to take advantage of suddenly gaining a half-mile of lakefront land equal a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity," the mayor wrote. "We plan to take advantage of it."