- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

RAPID CITY, S.D. (AP) - Crews will begin deconstructing a coal-fired power plant this summer that has been a part of Rapid City’s northwestern skyline since 1961.

The Ben French Generating Station was decommissioned in August 2012 as operator Black Hills Power moved toward using natural gas, the Rapid City Journal (https://bit.ly/1gF2eRZ ) reported. The site was named after former Black Hills Power & Light president and board chairman J.B. “Ben” French.

The plant will be taken apart slowly over the next three months, said Black Hills Power spokesman Mutch Usera. A brick building on the plant’s east side will remain, and the site will be replanted with grass and trees.

“You won’t see big balls knocking things down,” Usera said. “It’ll come down very slowly.”

The plant’s 90-foot-tall smokestack, which was decorated with lights at times for the holidays, was a well-known part of the city’s history.

“It served our customers for well over 50 years,” said Vance Crocker, vice president of Black Hills Powers. “It’s pretty remarkable.”

Crocker said the Ben French plant and two other coal-fired facilities have been replaced by a natural gas plant that went online in October.

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Information from: Rapid City Journal, https://www.rapidcityjournal.com

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