Jay Nixon State Park may lose its controversial moniker thanks to a new piece of legislation.
Both Sen. Gary Romine and Rep. Paul Fitzwater filed bills in their respective chambers Thursday to rename the former governor’s namesake state park to “Profitt Mountain State Park.”
Currently, the park, located in Reynolds County near Taum Sauk Mountain, is named for former Gov. Jay Nixon’s “nationally recognized” support for conservation, according to the park’s description on the Missouri State Park website.
However, Romine and Fitzwater have each denounced the name since the park was bought with funds from the ASARCO lead smelting lawsuit settlement and meant for rehabilitative and restorative efforts in the parts of the state affected by the company’s activities – primarily Southeast Missouri.
Fitzwater said Nixon had effectively used the money as a slush fund and added insult to injury by naming the piece of land after himself.
“This is highly offensive to the people of Reynolds and Iron counties,” Fitzwater said. “A park should be named to honor someone of historical significance and ties to the area. Our bills will correct this wrong.”
“This is tantamount to a slap in the face of my constituents,” Romine said. “Nixon must think pretty highly of himself to think he could get by with naming a park after himself after he misused the funds meant for remediation and restoration of the lead belt area. It’s a double whammy.”
Profitt Mountain rests in the St. Francois Mountains along with Taum Sauk Mountain and it’s named after one of the earliest families to settle in the area.