Jefferson City plans to develop Missouri River access

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JEFFERSON CITY - The Jefferson City Chamber of Commerce is seeking funds to develop a new riverwalk on the north side of the Missouri River. It hopes to begin construction this summer, but is relying on the community for help funding the project. 

Board of Directors member Alan Mudd proposed the initial riverwalk plan nearly two years ago.

"The Parks and Rec approved it for their master plans, but they don't have the funds to support it," Mudd said.

Mudd said while the board plans to start construction this summer, the group is still $20,000 short on funding. The total cost of the project is estimated to be $30,000. The funding would cover trails, as well as benches, picnic tables and educational displays on the environment.

The proposed riverwalk includes 356 feet of a 10-foot trail on the north side of the Missouri River. The trail will start near the pedestrian bridge, run through the Noren River Access and continue to Turkey Creek. 

Mudd said the all-weather path will start out as a concrete trail, but may consist of other materials like gravel and mulch. 

"I've always felt like we need to have more connection to the river," he said.

Joe Wilson, a longtime resident of Jefferson City, said he is against the idea of a riverwalk altogether. He runs Wilson's Serenity Point at the Noren River Access.

"I've tried hard to keep that concept of nature down here on the river, but concrete is not nature," he said. "You put concrete in there and disrupt the environment, cut down trees and get heavy equipment in there, you eliminate a buffer zone then that protects not only this area here, but the levee itself."

Mudd said he expects the project to begin this summer, but that weather could delay plans. He also said the board plans to eventually develop the other side of the river as well, but the railroad poses some problems. 

"To access the river, you would have to go under the railroad or build a bridge about the railroad," he said.

For more information on plans for the riverwalk, check out the Chamber of Commerce's website.