Dennis Brown | December 17, 2016
The University of Notre Dame and the South Bend Board of Parks have reached an agreement on a 50-year lease that gives the University rights to construct and operate a hydroelectric generation facility on the dam in the St. Joseph River in downtown South Bend. The agreement was approved Monday (Dec. 12) by the park board’s commissioners.
The agreement transfers from the city to Notre Dame a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission exemption to operate a hydro power facility. The city received the exemption in 1984 but has been unable to act upon it due to financial constraints.
In conjunction with the lease, the park’s board also approved a separate agreement in which Notre Dame will pay the city $1 million for restoration of Seitz Park, which is adjacent to the dam, as well as for ongoing maintenance of the dam through the duration of the lease.
“This is the latest of several recent and mutually productive partnerships between Notre Dame and the city,” said Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., the University’s president. “We appreciate the park board working with us as we continue implementing our broader sustainability plan.”
South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg added: “This is great example of what city-university partnerships can look like in the 21st century. The city is pleased to reach an agreement that invests in a sustainable future and makes downtown South Bend an even better place to live, work and play.”