Volunteers help lay new entrance to MSP site

Don Mueller of Mueller Landscaping guides the forklift driver on where to set the pallet of concrete steps as they worked Thursday morning to build a walkway at the entryway of the Missouri State Penitentiary. The work is being done just prior to the start of a new tour season.

Don Mueller of Mueller Landscaping guides the forklift driver on where to set the pallet of concrete steps as they worked Thursday morning to build a walkway at the entryway of the Missouri State Penitentiary. The work is being done just prior to the start of a new tour season. Photo by Julie Smith.

The community is putting its labor behind its support of the Missouri State Penitentiary redevelopment and historic tours.

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Mueller Landscaping employee Rusty Carver waits to shovel as coworker Tim Lockwood cuts through the dirt in order to set the new steps.

A sidewalk and steps from the newly-completed Lafayette Street extension near State Street to the entrance of Housing Unit 1 was installed Thursday thanks to volunteer labor and a donation of blocks and supplies.

Since the administration building was razed and the Jefferson City Convention and Visitors Bureau started its Hard-Hat Tours three years ago, the area has been soft, though the state did provide a gravel covering.

The sturdy entrance is just in time for the Missouri State Pen 2011 Tour Kickoff at 11 a.m. Tuesday at 115 Lafayette St.

The public is invited to a welcome ceremony, ribbon-cutting, reception, tour of A Hall/Housing Unit 4 and special souvenir and ticket offers.

More than 60 motorcoaches already have reserved tours, plus the Saturday tours are filling up months in advance. And the new twilight tours are popular right now too, said executive director Steve Picker.

www.missouripentours.com

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