School Street Hydroelectric Facility

Brookfield Renewable Power, Cohoes
2008 Heritage Award Recipient

The School Street facility, built in 1915, overlooks the 75-foot Cohoes Falls on the Mohawk River in the heart of the Harmony Mills Historic District of Cohoes. The Erie Canal and Harmony Mills were the mainstay of the city's economy from the 1800s through 1930. In February 2007, plant owner and operator Brookfield Renewable Power received a 40-year license from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to operate the facility.

Prior to the license renewal, Brookfield Renewable Power initiated a comprehensive improvement project at this historic power plant, which included masonry repair, painting, concrete resurfacing, removal of retired-­in-­place above ground transmission lines, new fencing, and removal of vegetation along the bank of the power canal. It also made major improvements to the adjacent Overlook Park, a public overlook to the Cohoes Falls, and Craner Veterans Park.

Collaboration with the city, stakeholders groups, and residents helped Brookfield demonstrate its commitment to the community. The School Street facility remains an integral part of the industrial heritage of Cohoes, while at the same time contributing to the city's future. Aesthetic and recreational enhancements to the facility, access to Cohoes Falls, and improvements to surrounding parks, together with revitalization of the historic Harmony Mills adjacent to the facility, have created a dynamic destination for residents and visitors.

What makes it great?

Brookfield improved power plant structures, access roads, and grounds maintenance in a manor that preserves the historical integrity of the facility and integrates it into an urban setting and the Harmony Mills Historic District. The company showed exemplary cooperation with city officials, local historical review boards, the State Historic Preservation Office, and other stakeholders in completing the project.

Access to Cohoes Falls
Recognizing the tremendous natural and recreational resource of the Cohoes Falls and Mohawk River and its significance to residents of Cohoes, Brookfield improved public access and viewing opportunities at Overlook Park and went on to develop Falls View Park, a community showpiece and regional attraction.

Economic Vitality
The School Street Hydro facility and adjoining parks contribute to economic revitalization and quality of life in the City of Cohoes.