Jefferson City land development plans move forward

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JEFFERSON CITY – Mayor Carrie Tergin announced plans to move forward on the development of the land near the Missouri State Penitentiary at Monday evening’s city council meeting.

Gov. Eric Greitens transferred just over 32 acres of land from the state to Jefferson City on July 11, 2017. The remaining 95 acres of land will still be state-owned property, including the historic district and the Missouri State Penitentiary. Tergin plans to move forward within the coming weeks with a team of different representatives.

“We are just giving the council an update and letting the public know where we are at,” Tergin said. “[The team] would include the city, the state, the county, our convention and visitors bureau and our chamber of commerce.”

The state is currently finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding, or MoU, to transfer the property from the state to the city. Once this process is done, Tergin and her team will be able to move forward with development plans.

“The next step would be selecting a master developer that would look at the whole site and develop that according to the state’s master plan,” Tergin said. “So there is already a plan out there, we just want to put that into implementation.”

The master plan features a number of potential development options for the 32 acres of land. Options include a conference center, general meeting space and hotel or retail development. The city’s biggest project will include the construction of an access road to the new land. Tergin added that the project will include a private and public partnership once the development process begins.

Council Member Mark Schreiber has written two books on the Missouri State Penitentiary and its impact on the area. Moving forward, he said the project could only add to the city’s history and appeal.

“It has been a great collaboration between the state, the city and the county,” Schreiber said. “With its history and everything, I think we have a great opportunity there, not just to carry on the history of the prison…but the next chapters of that [area] are being written, and, hopefully, it will be a positive one moving forward.” 

Schreiber did note that people should remain patient during the process, adding that collaboration is key with a project of this magnitude.

“You have to have, in my opinion, a marriage between the prison and the existing state government,” Schreiber said. “Whatever goes on the property, you have to make certain that you show a respect, design wise, to the buildings that are already on the property.” 

The state is set to complete the Memorandum of Understanding within a few months. Once the MoU is complete, Tergin and her team can move forward with the development process.