Taking 2020 in Stride

In this past year, Jefferson City has been through a lot! From tornadoes, flooding, and hail, to COVID-19, there’s not much more we can check off our list. Despite our troubles, we have accomplished some truly incredible things in a very short amount of time.

In addition to helping restore our community, the Chamber has been diligently working with our partners to complete some mammoth projects that will make an impact for generations to come.

Heartland Port

The Heartland Port project has been in the works for quite a few years. In 2018, the Heartland Port Authority of Central Missouri (the port’s governing body) was formed. The Heartland Port Authority Board of Commissioners is as follows:

Roger Fischer
Hank Stratman
Thomas Woods
Rick Mihalevich
Jim Jordan

Ann Pardalos
Kris Scheperle
Calvin Broughton
Jeff Naught

On May 15, 2020, the General Assembly voted 145-3 in favor of transferring ownership of 116 acres (between the Ike Skelton Training Center and the Algoa Correctional facility) from the state to the Heartland Port Authority.

Recently, the Port Authority received a $183,700 grant for a market study and business development plan. After 6 months of in-depth research by Iowa-based Decision Innovation Solutions, it was determined that the operation of a port in Central Missouri would be economical to potential users in a 24-county area. As another part of the study, it was determined that the port should operate under a “landlord port model concept,” which would mean the entity that operates the port would pay a concession fee to the Port Authority.

The next step for the Heartland Port is to utilize recently awarded grant funds for conceptual design and environmental work such as NEPA reviews, archaeological and historical preservations studies, and preliminary engineering design.

In order to be successful, federal and state funding sources will need to be leveraged alongside private dollars to make the port viable.

Missouri State Penitentiary Redevelopment

Aerial rending of prospective MSP Redevelopment Plan looking southeast from State Street

The City Council made a historic vote on June 1, 2020 to begin working with a developer to transform the 32 acres of land parked behind the historic Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP). After the vote to select for the Chesterfield Hotels/Arcturis team of developers passed 6- 4, Mayor Carrie Tergin’s smile said it all… After almost a decade of planning and hard work, the project finally began forming into something tangible.

The project accomplishes two of Jefferson City’s biggest goals: 1) the construction of a much-needed conference center and 2) to fulfill the MSP Master plan by developing the land to showcase not only the scenic river views but the historic penitentiary itself.

The Chesterfield Hotels/Arcturis proposal includes the construction of a Hilton Tapestry hotel, and conference center in phase 1. Later phases include the construction of an ice arena, five-story parking garage, museum, office building, single-family townhomes, retail and more!

In regard to the project’s timeline, the contract must be finalized and signed with the developer by the end of 2020 with a requirement that construction must begin within 5 years.

Bicentennial Bridge to the Island

The Bicentennial Bridge to the Island is perhaps one of the longest living “wants” of our community. Thus far, the project has had a consistent pattern of ramping up and winding down. It was only when Mrs. Betty Jo “B.J.” DeLong contributed a significant donation to the project that the fire was ignited, and the project took off.

DeLong, along with the philanthropists before her, recognized the beauty in the assets of Jefferson City, the Capitol, the Missouri State Penitentiary and the Missouri River. However, there currently is not any infrastructure connecting the three. The 12-foot wide pedestrian and bicycle bridge would extend from the Missouri State Capitol Complex, over the railroad to land on the 30-acres of parkland on Adrian’s Island. The island will be a passive recreational area with trails allowing visitors to hike through the wooded area and experience the riparian environment along the banks of the Missouri River. Later phases of the project hope to connect the Bridge with the newly redeveloped Missouri State Penitentiary area.

The largest part of the fundraising has been completed and City Council has voted in favor of the construction contract. The project is set to be substantially completed by the Missouri bicentennial celebration in August of 2021 with a final completion in October of 2021.

Although we have seen a lot of destruction in our city over the last year, we are rebuilding. We are not only rebuilding homes, bridges, and historical homes, but are redeveloping the land in a way that best showcases the assets of Jefferson City for generations to come.