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Residents in river town not happy with quarry’s “barge parking” plan

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KIMMSWICK, MO (KTVI) – There’s a battle over barges brewing on the Mississippi River. A quarry owner in Jefferson County wants a permit to essentially "park" barges on the river's edge. Residents are fighting the proposal.

After learning of the residents' concerns, the quarry owner has dropped nearly half of the proposal.

It’s been the McBroom family’s front yard for 60 years: an unobstructed view of one of the mightiest rivers on the planet.

The new plan would drastically change the family’s view.

“It’s placing barges all along the river here – 80 of them,” said resident Mike McBroom.

The original proposal called for four fleeting areas surrounding the historic Sulphur Springs Landing, an enclave of about 20 homes near the river’s edge south of Kimmswick in Jefferson County.

Fleeting areas are essentially parking lots for barges.

“It would be just like telling truckers you can park your trailers on the side of the highway for free, just store them there,” McBroom said.

The Simpson Materials uarry just downriver wants the fleeting areas for shipping sand and other non-hazardous bulk materials.

It has now just pulled its request for the two fleeting areas closest to Sulphur Springs Landing, which would have allowed for the parking of 24 barges.

The Army Corps of Engineers will have the ultimate say and is seeking public input.

“They might have information we don’t,” said Amanda Kruse, Army Corps spokeswoman. “We want to know how it will impact them. We also look at a variety of different factors. We do look at aesthetics. We look at the environment, navigation, how this will affect a bunch of different things.”

“We don’t want it,” McBroom said. “It’ll ruin the aesthetics of the whole thing. It would add noise pollution, light pollution, probably dust, who knows what. It’s just going to be terrible.”

So the view is far from the only reason they oppose this. They're also concerned about habitat for threatened or endangered species like eagles, bats, and sturgeon. They're having a homeowners' meeting Tuesday night, looking for support from wildlife groups.

The Army Corps’ deadline for public comment is March 23, with a final decision expected within four months.

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