What if Louisville moved its Ohio River dam upriver near the Second Street bridge, creating a scenic waterfall that also exposed more of the Falls of the Ohio — the series of rocky rapids that helped give birth to the city?
That was the idea presented Tuesday during one of several sessions of the Idea Festival-affiliated Water Conference, a concept that local engineering, energy and park officials said is fun to imagine but highly impractical because of , navigation and hydroelectric obstacles. ...
Presenter Steven Greseth, who has degrees in business and civil engineering and was business consultant for a German hydroelectric company, told a crowd at the Kentucky Center that he thinks it would be a stunning natural feature, a big tourist draw and allow Louisville to highlight its history.
Acknowledging it was an theoretical concept short on details, Greseth suggested building a new dam near the Second Street bridge, where the now-submerged falls actually begin, using an irregular design to make it look like a natural waterfall with a drop of at least 14 feet.
The old Z-shaped dam further downriver would then be demolished — an effort he estimated would cost at least $250 million. It would cost more to relocate the dam’s hydroelectric plant.
Greseth believes that navigation channels near the Kentucky side of the river could be maintained, while exposing thousand of feet of rock that would form a city-defining water feature.
“It would be spectacular. … It’s a way to bring visitors into the community,” said Greseth, estimating it would take at least 10 years, while admitting there were many unknowns to his concept. “I’m just presenting the idea, I’m not presenting the details.”