Osceola Mayor Hopes Power Plant Will Energize Economy - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Osceola, AR -- Kathy Morris Reports

Osceola Mayor Hopes Power Plant Will Energize Economy

October 29, 2003 -- Posted at 11:15pm

OSCEOLA, AR - A new industry coming to Osceola will bring more than 1,000 jobs with it during its first 3 to 5 years of construction, and Mayor Dickie Kennemore hopes once it's built it will energize more companies to build there.

"Those jobs will bring people to the area, possibly not permanently, but some of them will be local people will get jobs, and it will pour a lot of money into the local economy," said Kennemore.

After 3 years of negotiations and preparations, leaders of L. S. Power Associates of St. Louis are ready to begin construction on 1 billion dollar, 800 megawatt, coal-fired electric generating plant. All of the necessary state and federal permits have been granted.

Dickie Kennemore explained, "Their next step is to start securing some customers."

Plum Point Energy Station will provide low-cost electricity to wholesale purchasers. Buyers could be large industrial and municipal users, as well as current power companies such as Tennessee Valley Authority. Once enough commitments are agreed upon for a portion of their output, construction will begin.

The nearly 1,000 acre site southeast of Osceola was chosen because of access to the Mississippi River, for the use of water for cooling and the unloading of coal from barges, and its proximity to railroad lines and large power lines owned by Entergy that are already on the local electrical grid.

After the facility is online, more than 100 technical vacancies will be filled. The jobs created by the power plant should lower the state's highest unemployment rate and increase spending in Mississippi County.

"Another added benefit that we hope to get, there is a by-product called fly ash, and fly ash is used in concrete. It's also used in sheet rock," added Kennemore. "We hope that there will be other industries that might locate adjacent to this facility that will use that fly ash."

Thousands of dollars will be headed to the city of Osceola and county school systems in lieu of paying taxes. Ground should be broken sometime next year.

In the northern part of Mississippi County, the Mayor Kenny Jackson of Dell says TECO company officials continue to be in touch regarding their partially built power plant. They call every 2 to 3 weeks to reassure Jackson that they do plant to complete that facility. However, they have no idea when that will be.

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