Groundbreaking held for Plum Point Power Plant

May 31, 2006 -- Posted at 6:15 p.m. CDT

OSCEOLA, AR -- Ground was broken Wednesday for an Osceola power plant that will serve several Region 8 cities.

The coal fueled energy facility has been in the works for almost six years, but now the Plum Point Energy Station is closer than ever to being a reality.

Construction for the coal burning energy station will begin, however won't be completed until 2010. Over the next four years many jobs will come to the Delta Region.

"There is going to be about 1,200 construction jobs over the next four years, which will generate about $2,000,000,000 in payroll," said Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore.

And the job growth won't stop when construction is over.

"We know that there's going to be an operating crew and staff of about 100 professionals, technicians, and engineers," said Eric Golde, Executive Director of the Osceola and South Mississippi County Chamber of Commerce.

The plant will be a big shot in the arm for the economy of Osceola, now, and in the future.

"We've seen our share of economic downturns in the years past, but things have turned around for us in a lot of ways and this is just one more way," said Kennemore.

With rising prices for fuel, electricity, and natural gas, city leaders hope that this facility will help put a lid on costs for energy in Osceola and for surrounding areas.

There are many other cities in Region 8 that have bought into the company, including Poplar Bluff, Malden, Kennett, Piggott, and of course, Osceola.

"This will be a spring board for other industries coming here, as well as the infrastructure of the city," said Golde.

Mayor Kennemore said there are many things Osceola had to offer this facility.

"We were close to a 500 KV transmission line about half a mile south. We had large acreage, on a river, and we're on a railroad," said Kennemore.

Officials with LS Power say this plant will be one of the cleanest coal burning plants around.

"The advantages far outweigh any of the negative that would have come from having it located here," said Kennemore.