From Incarceration to Education
Plans for the site include a federal courthouse and a naval museum, plus a new public library branch.
The Missouri River Regional Library wants to build a branch on the site because its current location is cramped and lacks facilities.
"Our bookshelves are full. We just need more room," explained Betty Hagenhoff, interim director. "And at this point, basically, when we add books, we have to take out books."
But, the new courthouse took the library's original spot in January. Now, library leaders think they've found a new location at the old prison.
"This is a wonderful site we're looking at," Hagenoff added. "The location is probably almost a better location. It sits on the corner of Lafayette and Capitol. The only drawback to it at this point is, it's behind the wall."
The library's architects are looking at the site, and the Prison Redevelopment Commission wil consider the library's request to tear down part of the outer wall before its June meeting.
"For some people, [the fact that it was a prison] is an intimidating factor," admitted Hagenhoff. "But, from our perspective, historically, opening that up to the public, and making the library a part of that, libraries draw people in."
The proposed Missouri Naval Museum is looking at two boats to move to the site.