Dear Beth,

Thank you so much for returning my call and for giving me your email address.

As you may already be aware, I had called Congressman Joe Donnelly about hydroelectric power on the St Joe river in South Bend.  A generator had been proposed back in the 1980’s however the project was halted for economic reasons:

With the urgency of global climate change, increasing fuel prices, dwindling fossil fuel supplies and the detrimental effects of extracting, transporting and burning fossil fuels, there is an increased urgency for tapping renewable energy sources such as the hydrokinetic energy of our river.

Congressman Donnelly indicated he supports hydroelectric power on the St Joe river and suggested there are federal grants for such a project:

The generator designed by Lawson-Fisher in the 1980’s includes a below-water viewing chamber to allow visitors to watch the hydro plant’s turbines on one side and migrating fish on the other.  This design has the potential to not only generate electricity but to attract thousands of visitors to South Bend.

Holladay Corporation is currently working with the city of South Bend to re-develop the East Bank of the St Joe River.  When asked if a hydroelectric generator/tourist attraction such as the Lawson-Fisher design could be included in their plans, John Phair, CEO of Holladay Corporation answered in the affirmative.  He was encouraged to learn of Congressman Donnelly’s support for this project.

Some have suggested that this project could also funded in part by corporate donors (such as Memorial Hospital, Notre Dame or the Healthworks Children’s Museum) although these avenues have not yet been explored.

In addition to re-invigorating our city as a tourist attraction, this project addresses the greater issue of our city’s carbon “footprint” with respect to global climate change.  I look forward to hearing from you and providing whatever support I can in helping this project become a reality.