Mississippi County to Receive EPA Help in Anticipation of Big River Steel

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will offer technical assistance to Mississippi County in anticipation of redevelopment opportunities related to the Big River Steel mill project.

According to the EPA, the project "will identify neighborhoods that are best suited for expanding housing opportunities and minimizing commuting time to new jobs. The planning effort may also focus on updates to existing infrastructure, reuse of existing buildings, and development of new public spaces for existing residents and new employees moving to the region."

The Smart Growth Implementation Assistance (SGIA) Program is designed to help communities foster economic growth, protect environmental resources, enhance public health and plan for development. Mississippi County is one of three areas selected this cycle for the program, and was one of 79 overall applicants.

The other two areas selected were the state of Rhode Island, which will receive help assessing impacts from rising sea levels, and Kelso, Wash., for downtown redevelopment. 

Since 2005, the EPA reports the SGIA program has helped coordinate more than $4 billion to 36 projects in 49 communities across the U.S. The EPA has yet to release the monetary value of the assistance Mississippi County will receive.

Big River's $1.1 billion facility, to be located just south of Osceola, will be the third steel manufacturing plant in Mississippi County. Nucor Steel operates two facilities in the county north of Osceola.

Big Rivers plans to hire 550 workers at an average starting annaul salary of $75,000 when it opens. Construction is expected to begin this fall.