by Dennis Dalman
The hydroelectric operation, formerly owned by Verso Paper in Sartell, can now be sold separately by its new owner, AIM Development.
The Sartell City Council, as a Nov. 13 meeting, voted unanimously to grant a request from AIM to sell the hydroelectric facility as a separate entity from the other former Verso property at the site. AIM purchased all of that property from Verso after Verso decided to shut down operations permanently. A fire and explosion, which took the life of a Verso worker, spelled the end for paper-mill operations at that site, which had been functioning for more than 100 years under various names and ownerships.
The hydroelectric plant will be only one of a few structures that will remain after AIM finishes its demolition at the site by the end of next year. AIM has sold much of the equipment at the site through auctions. It is now in the process of dismantling the structures, whose materials will be sold for recycling at a variety of places far and wide.
AIM hopes to sell the site for a new purpose and wants the option of selling the hydroelectric facility separately, which the council approved.
Whoever buys the facility could sell the electricity to a third party or use it for some other operation at the site. The electricity is generated by the force of water falling over the dam in the Mississippi River.