Glen Helen wants to take down old Antioch power plant on property

A view of the Glen Helen power plant. The Glen wants to remove the power plant, which is now defunct, and restore the wetland. Courtesy of Nick Boutis.
A view of the Glen Helen power plant. The Glen wants to remove the power plant, which is now defunct, and restore the wetland. Courtesy of Nick Boutis.

Glen Helen is hoping to get grants or funds to be able to remove a power plant from the nature preserve, then restore the wetlands surrounding it.

After the sale of the Glen from Antioch University to the Glen Helen Association in mid-2020, administrators have focused on getting funds to rebuild trails and make educational opportunities for school children, said Nick Boutis, executive director of Glen Helen Association.

While removing the power plant from the Glen is low on the list of their current priorities, trumped by fixing bridges and removing trees on the trails, Boutis said they hope to get federal or state grants to help cover the costs of removing the power plant.

They’ll likely be applying for grants in the middle of 2021, he said, and then work out a schedule after that.

Boutis appeared at the Dec. 21 Yellow Springs Village council meeting to explain the project after a council member, Laura Curliss, suggested they add $125,000 to the 2021 Yellow Springs budget for green spaces for the project. Yellow Springs didn’t approve the appropriation, but council president Brian Housh said they could revisit the appropriation during the summer when Glen Helen is applying for grants.

“But again, I want to emphasize that this is not a no to supporting the project,” Housh said. “It’s just no to adding $125,000 to the green space fund at this time.”

Boutis said Yellow Springs has contributed to Glen Helen projects before using the green space fund.

The power plant is an eyesore and a public safety hazard, Boutis said, and the longer it’s up, the more likely it is that someone could get hurt by it.

“We have an old and unsafe building with asbestos, upstream from the Glen,” Boutis said. “Any pollutants from that building are going straight to the Glen.”

The power plant has not been operational since 2007, but it was built in the 1930s for Antioch College use, he said.

“It’s a terrible place to put a power plant,” Boutis said. “It’s right on the edge of a spring-fed wetland, and right on the edge of the region’s largest, most visited, private nature reserve.”

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