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Your Town Tuesday: The Unique People, Places, and Things of Becker [VIDEO]

"We produce enough electricity with that 24 hundred megawatts to support approximately just under 2 million customers within the central Minnesota region." This week on “Your Town Tuesday” we are wrapping up our series with a trip to Becker, home to the largest coal-fired power plant in the XCEL Energy plant fleet. Sherburne County Generating Station, or Sherco, is the largest when it comes to square feet, steam production, power generation capacity, and coal consumption. Click Here to watch the rotary car dumper flip a train car over to dump coal out. The first two units of the plant were built in the late 1970′s with a  third unit being added in the early 1980s. The plant generates 24 hundred megawatts of electricity.

Cindy Shore is the business support manager with Sherco. She is one of 300 hundred employees that help operate the plant every day. She says Sherco is proud to be part of the Becker Community, in fact the community involvement from Sherco is extraordinary.

 I know one of my predecessors here was critical in helping gain funding to support the history center here, the Sherburne History Center in Becker, and developing wonderful nature trails with signage along those trails.

Sherburne County Generating Station
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News)

That community involvement continues today.

Shore says, “For many years now we have met with city officials, county officials. We call it a city advisory group. We meet monthly. It includes the superintendent of the Becker High School, city council members, the mayor, a number of other individuals, and we meet monthly and discuss a variety of issues and topics, developmental opportunities, and community issues as well as what’s going on here at our facility and it’s been very successful.”

Sherco also partners with the Becker Fire and Police Departments.

The Becker Fire Department and Police Department support us locally from a emergency response perspective, and in turn Sherco asks them to come onsite, particularly the fire department, and we run through confined space training drills, emergency response drills, that includes the fire department, the police department, and the Sherburne County Sheriff’s Department.

Shore says Sherco’s community involvement even reaches into the Becker schools.

Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News

Every summer we hire two of the their high school teens, when they are a junior or senior, and we provide them with internships here at the plant. We usually have one teen focus on the engineering department, and another one in the maintenance  department.

"It means a lot. We’re very proud members of this community, and continue to support it in whatever ways that we can. The community’s success is our success." Sherco also works with Meals on Wheels, the Veterans on the Lake Resort in Ely, and the United Way. Overall Shore says that Sherco is honored to support all the communities that they are involved in.

One of the places that Sherco was able to help in Becker was the Becker Community Center. Jamie Cassidy is the Becker Parks and Recreations Director, as well as the manager at the community center.

I worked in Parks and Recreation my whole career and I actually use to bring groups of children up here from the Robinsdale, Osseo, Brooklyn Park Area, because I thought this was such a great facility, and I happened to hear about it, so we used to bring kids out here to use the amenity here.

Becker Community Center Pool
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News)

The Becker Community Center offers a variety of activities, and amenities for the community. There is a full size pool with a 152-foot-long water slide.

“We have swim lessons, lots of birthday parties take place in here, and then just open swim. We also have aquatic classes that take place in here,” says Cassidy.

There is also a fitness room, a gymnasium, rock climbing wall, the Great River Regional Library, and programs for newborns all the way to seniors citizens. There are a variety of community activities that also take place at the center.

There’s lots of community meetings here: the Lions, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, groups like that utilize it. Lots of special events here: Breakfast with Santa, Cooking with Ms. Claus, activities like that throughout the year.

Becker Community Center
(Photo: Joshua Akkerman, WJON News)

The community center is celebrating its 20th year in operation. Cassidy says the Becker community is proud to have such a great amenity to call their own.

“It’s a community gathering spot that people take pride in it. I think they are proud to have this as an amenity here. It offers the residents an affordable way to have a community center and an amenity of this quality that is truly available to everybody,” says Cassidy.

For a list of upcoming events at the Becker Community Center, Click Here.

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