(Mississippi County, AR) Folks in Mississippi County, Arkansas are celebrating the kind of economic announcement that dreams are made of: a one billion dollar steel mill planned south of Osceola.
Big River Steel, LLC is looking at hiring more than 500-workers, giving the kind economic boost for which people in Mississippi County have been waiting.
Osceola Mayor Dickie Kennemore says the project will breath new life into the are, “It is an event that’s going to bring a struggling delta county out of the doldrums.”
The official announcement by Big River Steel to build a few miles south of Osceola was made Tuesday morning in Little Rock.
Sharon Smith, a clerk at Gibson Oil Company in Osceola, says this welcomed news in a community where jobs are in demand, ‘We don’t have hardly any jobs around here, it’s really hard. We have a lot of people around here that don’t have any jobs, that’s been looking for jobs.”
Jeff Lynch says the “cat’s been out of the bag” for a while, “Rumors been flying here for the last few weeks”
Lynch owns The Hog Pen” barbecue on Highway 61, two miles from the proposed site, “I think this new steel mill will just be the greatest thing that’s happened to this county, or this area, since AGcame here: American Greeting.”
Lynch is planning to sell a lot more barbecue to construction workers and future employees, who are expected to make as much as $75,000 a year.
Big River Steel is Arkansas largest economic development project.
But the state legislature has to first approve 125-million dollars in general obligation bonds, using an incentive bill passed called Amendment 82.
Ken Kennemore, a member of Osceola’s Economic Development Committee, says Amendment 82 levels the playing field, “Before we had Amendment 82 we were losing to surrounding states, you know, big super projects like this.”
No date has been announced for groundbreaking but the new steel mill is expected to attract job applicants within a 150-mile radius of Osceola.