Coal Plant Employees Fill Temporary Housing Sites

The Kemper County coal plant has brought in thousands. And with so many incoming, there's been a shortage of housing in the area, creating a new business opportunity: camper and RV parks. Lauderdale County tax assessor James Rainey says during their appraisals, this new growth in temporary housing has been undeniable.

"It's been a noticeable increase since the coal plant, and when we say coal plant, we're talking about the power plant in Kemper County," he says. "There's been a noticeable increase in RV parks throughout the county and throughout, and it has grown throughout the county."

Many have been capitalizing on this influx with campgrounds like these. The coal plant employees need a place to live, and campgrounds are popular because they allow the workers to bring in their own homes to live on a temporary basis.

"They can take their camper; they move from one project like this to another," explains co-owner of Moscow RV Park Roy Barnette. "And rather than going in and trying to find motels or something that is not there, they have their own site, their own house that they just take with them from one site to another."

Apartments, houses and even hotels have filled up with coal plant employees over the past few years. But as soon as the workers began pouring in, campgrounds like the Moscow RV Park began popping up.

Owners of camper parks like this one say they were quick to jump on this opportunity because finding a place to live for so many coal plant employees would be impossible.

That's because when it comes to finding available housing in the area, the pickings are slim.

"There's no housing," Barnette says. "There's up to 6,000 to 7,500 people that are working there, and rural Kemper County has no housing."

It's a business that's tethered strongly to the coal plant. But as long as the workers are there, they expect to keep lots filled.