Norwalk Leaders Consider Future Of Manresa Island Power Plant

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The Norwalk Harbor Power Station was shut down earlier this year. Photo Credit: Norwalk City Records

NORWALK, Conn. – Norwalk officials will gather to discuss the fate of the former site of the Norwalk Harbor Power Station on Manresa Island later this month and are asking for the public’s input on the situation.

NRG Energy Inc., the plant’s owner, announced it would deactivate the power plant last May after more than 50 years in operation.

The oil-powered 340 megawatt plant was the only large-scale plant between Bridgeport and New York, according to NRG. But the company decided to shut down the site last summer, citing the high cost of oil compared with natural gas.

“We don’t take this action lightly, but market conditions in southwest Connecticut and in New England generally made this decision necessary,” NRG spokesman David Gaier said in May.

The site was once designated an Resource Conservation and Recovery Act Corrective Action plant by the Environmental Protection Agency, meaning it at one time had hazardous waste on the site. The plant had been working to correct the problem, and it has posted no violations in the past three years, according to the EPA’s records.

The plant sits on a 33-acre plot of land on Manresa Island, which is actually a peninsula on the shore of Long Island Sound. The power plant had been in operation there since 1960. NRG has owned the land and the plant since 1999, when it purchased it from Connecticut Light & Power.

NRG has not yet decided on its plans for the future of the Manresa Island site. Company representatives will be at a meeting with Mayor Harry Rilling, members of Norwalk’s Planning and Zoning commissions, Norwalk Senior Environmental Officer  Alexis Cherichetti, State Sen. Bob Duff and other city and state officials to discuss the future of the location in a public setting.

“There has been a good deal of speculation and talk around town about what will happen to Manresa Island after the power plant shuts down,” Duff said in a press release. “I would encourage anyone who is curious about the future of the site to attend.”

The public information session is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 18, starting at 7 p.m. in the Community Room of the Norwalk Police Headquarters, 1 Monroe St.

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Comments (5)

sono resident:

Great to see the site used for several purposes. Perhaps part left for nature, part for a public swimming pool and one part for high end single family housing to provide the property tax revenue for the rest. There are loads of Brownfields loans/grants that are available for such sites, letting it lie vacant and just have the pollution leach doesn't seem the answer to me. Let's do something progressive and efficient

Ken P Jr:

We need undeveloped open space and its a great place for it. Tear it down, clear a small lot for parking and let nature do its thing. There was once serious consideration given to making it a beach/park, be nice if the citizens got something out of it.

Broad River:

That would be wonderful! Keep me posted, I would work side-by-side with you to advance your dream.
Could we have a small wind machine to help keep it lighted into the very late evening?


The plant should be kept but switched to a renewable energy source that would help provide power to the local area, thus reducing dependence on the NE grid. It is unfortunate, but using the site for anything else would simply result in more traffic and congestion through a residential area not equipped to handle it. The road directly in front of the plant is frequently flooded during high tides (ask anybody in Harborview) so further development is out of the question.
Tearing down the plant and converting it to open space and park land is an admirable idea, but the remediation costs would be prohibitive.
No matter what is decided, the residents in the area should have the greatest say in the fate of the property, not some rich developer looking to make some quick bucks off of some overpriced condos.

Broad River:

Everything you say is true. All the ' best ' choices are probably to idealistic. I'm sure that when they take an extensive survey there will be many problems and leading the list will be the soil.
Maybe if they remove some and then fill over with a good 5 feet of soil and a couple of thick layers of asphalt they could build safe housing. Of course they will need to drive pilings a lot of pilings.
It would be nice to see the parcel split up. Use a portion for wind energy if that's a viable project. I don't think you'll ever see ' affordable ' housing built there. I could envision a marina with condo's, turn some of it into park or open space land. It's a nice chunk of land and some rich developer is drooling already. I think the residents will be happy to see the plant go yet most probably bought their house in the shadow of the plant anyway and won't be entirely happy with the what the future holds. for them. I do hope they have good representation and get very proactive about their neighborhood. My hope would be that it gets divided up into at least 3 parcels but less than 6 and as green as possible.

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