Hydroelectric Project Moves Forward

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City councilors unanimously approved going forward with the next steps of a hydroelectric project at the Falls Lake Dam.

The city will now file paperwork with state regulators to move forward with a hydroelectric facility at Falls Lake and hire consultants for final evaluation and possible environmental and regulatory permitting, design and construction services.

Assistant Public Utilities Director Kenny Waldroup said at the Budget and Economic Development Committee last week that the project would have low environmental impacts because the facility would be built into the dam, which already exists. The facility would use the existing flow of water through the dam to create electricity.

The electricity generated by the facility would be sold to Progress Energy with an income potential of $230,000 to $250,000 per year. This does not include any renewable energy credits the city would receive.

The initial evaluation phase of the project was funded by the Capital Improvement Program and costs $300,000. Waldroup told the Record that the next steps – that were approved by the council – would be included in the current budget.

Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation representative Alissa Bierma said that the facility would be “making the best of a situation that already isn’t great for the river.”

She echoed Waldroup’s statements that the project would utilize the dam, which had the biggest environmental impact on the river.

“I wish they would do it with all of the dams we’re stuck with,” said Bierma.

HL Empire Loan Approved

City councilors unanimously approved a $50,000 loan to HL Empire LLC to be used for retrofitting the ground floor of its property at 111 E. Hargett St. The loan will be made through the Downtown Loan Pool Program, which provides loans to businesses in the Fayetteville Street district of Downtown Raleigh. HL Empire owns numerous downtown businesses including Sitti, Raleigh Times Bar and Morning Times.

HL Empire will be leasing the property to Forsaken Media, which produces software applications for games on smart phones and other devices.

Halifax Community Center Lease Approved

The city council approved a 40-year lease between the Raleigh Housing Authority and Halifax Community Center and Park, which will result in the building of a new community center.

The original center was built in 1972 and was leased by the Raleigh Housing Authority for the past 40 years. The center includes a gym, weight room, game room and office.

The city, which provided the funds for the original building, intends to build a new center on the same footprint that will house an expanded gymnasium, a large dividable meeting room, weight room, warming kitchen, office and reception area, and restrooms with shower facilities. The city also plans to install new basketball courts, playground and parking area.

The project is projected to finish in 2013 and will be paid for by using money from the 2007 Parks and Recreation bond.

City Searches for New CAT Management

The city has extended its contract with Veolia Transportation Services for three months while it takes bids for new management services for the Capital Area Transit system.

The city is currently reviewing proposals from interested vendors and will begin the interview process in late September. City staff anticipates awarding the contract in October.

City Manager Russell Allen said that it is possible that the city will once again go with Veolia, but is also looking at other applicants.

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