Power plant lights will shine on

Published 10:02 am Sunday, December 11, 2016

The neon lights on the Austin Municipal Plant will shine on.

While they will not be on the downtown plant, there are plans to reinstall the lights on the site of the new Austin Utilities Service and Operations Center, said general manager Mark Nibaur last week.

“We’ve had so much interest, we decided to keep them,” he said.

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The staff hasn’t quite figured out exactly where they will be located, but the  new site is 23 acres, so there is plenty of room for some type of installation.

The interest level in the sign seemed high, he said, “so that gave us the motivation” to think about keeping those letters.

The lights were most likely erected in the 1950s or 1960s, when the plant was being updated

In a related matter, Nibaur said the plant will go dark this week, probably on Tuesday or Wednesday. It is anticipated that the sign will come down shortly after that time.

The plant is the site of the new Austin Community Recreation Center.

The site was a fully functioning power plant in its prime, and acted as the Austin Utilities central facility housing all departments. The plant provided steam for the downtown area district heating system and had capacity of 26 megawatts of steam driven generation and a 5 MW natural gas fired combustion turbine generator. Throughout the life of the plant the facility utilized three fuel sources at various times: coal, fuel oil and natural gas.