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Trail welcome center put on back burner

The budget committee has opted to table potential funding for a Katy Trail welcome area and take another look if money is left over at the end of the budget process.

At the City Council’s budget committee meeting Thursday, members discussed the concept outlined in Mayor Eric Struemph’s proposed 2012 budget, which sets aside $50,000 for a welcome center.

Rich Koon, committee chairman and Second Ward councilman, said he didn’t see why the city would need to put in such an expense right now, especially with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce’s economic development strategic plan “Transformation,” which has substantial proposals for the Millbottom area and other portions of the city to improve its appeal to visitors. Koon said, with that in mind, why not simply direct visitors and others on the Katy Trail through simple signage, rather than an expensive welcome area.

Fifth Ward Councilman Dave Griffith said the proposed welcome area would serve visitors, and essentially customers of Jefferson City, helping attract people to the area.

“That’s our front porch,” Griffith said. “I think, for $50,000, we can make a good impression.”

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