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
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.