Multi-Million Dollar Deal Saves Missouri State Penitentiary

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JEFFERSON CITY - It offers more than a century's worth of history and a peek into the paranormal for brave tourists, but earlier this year its future was uncertain.

After an environmental assessment revealed unacceptable levels of mold throughout the building, the Missouri State Penitentiary's (MSP) outlook wasn't good. Windows and roofs were in severe disrepair, causing a danger to tourists. MSP had to cancel and refund previously-scheduled tours losing thousands in tourism dollars. Nearby hotels lost some of their reservations and hundreds of tourists cancelled their trips to Jefferson City.

After MSP closed its doors to tourists in September the destination's prospects weren't clear. However, Governor Jay Nixon soon made an announcement that saved the Missouri landmark. Jefferson City and the state entered into a $2 million deal to repair the Missouri State Penitentiary.

"I just think that is the biggest potential for economic development we have in our town," Carrie Carroll, Fourth Ward City Councilwoman, said. "People want to see [and] learn; they want to go inside those walls and actually be a part of what happened there... It's just amazing."

Construction is already underway to repair MSP's windows and roofs, as well as restore several housing units and the gas chambers. Should all go according to plan and weather permitting, MSP plans to reopen for tours March of next year.