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The old brick power plant in Alma owned by Dairyland Power Cooperative will be torn down and demolished within three years.

A company representative told the Alma City Council that work is already under way removing materials from the main plant.

The Alma Station opened in 1947 and eventually expanded to have five coal-fired units producing steam to generate electricity.

The three oldest units were taken out of operation in 2011 and the other two were shut down in 2014. Dairyland Power’s biggest generating plant, John P. Madgett, is located just south of the Alma station.

Small buildings adjacent to the main Alma Station plant might be down by the end of 2016, and demolition of the main plant would start next spring.

The tall smokestack by the old plant might be around longer. A timetable for its removal was undecided and it would be treated as a separate project, the city council was told.

Nathan Franklin of Dairyland Power said all of the demolition work would be sub-contracted, and an estimated 10 to 15 trucks daily would be hauling debris to a landfill in La Crosse County.

Most of the painted brick will wind up in a landfill, but the clear brick and concrete will be pulverized for use at the site and locally elsewhere.

Tunnels and basement areas of the old plant will be filled, Franklin said, and metals will be hauled away for salvage and scrap.

As the de-commission process moves ahead, future use of the old plant space remained undecided. “We’re open to ideas for future uses,” Franklin said.

Although some organizations have inquired about future site use, Dairyland Power has to consider its proximity to the property as well as government security codes on power plants.

Franklin said more talks about future use of the space would occur in a couple of years.

Dairyland Power needs a demolition permit from the city of Alma to raze the building. The permit would cost $25,000, based on a $17 million demolition project.

The Alma City Council approved a memorandum of understanding in support of issuing a three-year permit to have the demolition project finished by 2019.

Demolition of the smokestack would require a separate permit when a decision is reached on doing that project.

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