NRG PLANT: Study is only part of answer

There’s good news and bad news in regard to the recent Appalachian Regional Commission grant that is aimed at future uses of the NRG Energy Inc. power plant. First, the $60,000 to look at options is a great start. City and county leaders are to be commended for their work in getting the funds.

“This is an essential project for our county and region,” said Chautauqua County Executive George Borrello. “It demonstrates the proactive and collaborative approach we are taking as it pertains to the future of this incredible asset. We cannot sit idly by as the NRG plant continues to fall into a state of disrepair. This is great news for the city of Dunkirk, Chautauqua County, and the region, and is the first step in what is likely to be a lengthy process for repurposing this crucial waterfront asset.”

Now, the bad. That plant is still owned by NRG, which seems to care very little about what will happen to that land and lakefront now that it has shuttered the facility.

Tonawanda has a similar NRG plant that can be seen off Interstate 190. Town leaders in December announced they were hoping to take over the site through eminent domain. That’s a hefty financial commitment for taxpayers, even though grant funding from New York state is likely available.

A study on the Dunkirk site makes sense. But finding out what NRG wants to do with the property needs to be the first order of business.