Webb City wants to go from polluted mining town to environmental destination

Jul 19, 2013

This is just off route 66 in Webb City, MO
Credit Pete Zarria / Flickr

A former mining town in southwest Missouri wants to turn land polluted with zinc and heavy metals into a prime nature attraction.

Webb City Administrator Carl Francis says the city has applied to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources for about $3 million in funding for the 1,500 acre project. He says it would lessen the effects of the contamination and could change a previously barren area into wetlands.

The Joplin Globe reports the funds come from a damage settlement with ASARCO, a mining company that operated in the 1900s and left environmental damage. The proposal calls for building a wetlands area of roughly 100 acres, and for allowing another 1,500 acres to be developed into habitat for wildlife, walking trails and picnic areas.