Four closed Missouri state parks not for sale at this time

3 months 3 weeks 11 hours ago Monday, January 29 2018 Jan 29, 2018 Monday, January 29, 2018 12:57:00 PM CST January 29, 2018 in News
By: The Associated Press and Cameron La Fontaine, KOMU 8 Digital Producer

JEFFERSON CITY — Missouri officials say the state is not currently planning to sell four new state parks.

Former Gov. Jay Nixon's administration bought the four parks but they haven't been opened. The possibility of selling the parks was mentioned in the Legislature and the park division, as Missouri tries to solve a $200 million maintenance backlog at its other parks.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports Ben Ellis, director of Missouri State Parks, said last week the state isn't considering selling the parks at the present time.

The parks are Ozark Mountain State Park in Taney County; Jay Nixon State Park in Reynolds and Iron counties; and Bryant Creek State Park in Douglas County. A lawsuit has been filed challenging the legality of the fourth park, Eleven Point State Park in Oregon County.

KOMU 8 News reported on the four closed state parks in November. Ozark Mountain, Bryant Creek and Eleven Point State Parks never opened and Jay Nixon State Park was closed in February 2017, just one month after it opened.

Some Missouri lawmakers have urged the state to spend funds on taking care of existing state parks before developing more.

Missouri State Parks held public meetings from Dec. 4 to Jan. 6 of this year and compiled public comments on Ozark Mountain, Bryant Creek and Jay Nixon State Parks.

Eleven Point State Park is at the center of a lawsuit filed in Oregon County. Missouri State Parks plans to hold public meetings on that property pending the outcome of the litigation according to the state parks' website.

In 2016, Missouri State Parks set a new attendance record, topping 20 million visitors for the first time.

Missouri voters also passed a continuation of the one-tenth sales tax for parks, soils and waters in 2016, of which half the funding goes to state parks and the other half to soil conservation.

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