Plans for a new hydro-electric power plant on the Kansas River are moving forward.
Commissioners unanimously approved a special-use permit for the Bowersock Mills and Power Company to build a four-story plant on the north banks of the Kaw.
The plant would be just east of the Kansas River bridges downtown, and the building would be slightly taller than the adjacent river levees. The project also would include canoe docking areas both east and west of the Bowersock Dam, and would include a new fishing platform east of the dam.
Commissioners also started the process of allowing Bowersock to apply for up to $19 million worth of industrial revenue bonds. The bonds would be the responsibility of Bowersock to repay. The city would not back the bonds, but the bonds would allow Bowersock to borrow money at lower interest rates.
Leaders with Bowersock haven’t yet committed to building the plant, but want to have all the necessary permits in place as they search for a wholesale buyer of the electricity the plant would produce.
The plant could receive a key federal permit by Dec. 1. If a buyer for the electricity is found by the end of the year, the plant could be operational by mid-2012.