Readers ask plan’s fans: Is Transformation really a wise investment?

The following are questions from readers gathered from the News Tribune website, Facebook page and e-mails for the Transform Jefferson City campaign. Responding to the questions on behalf of the campaign are cochairmen Ken Hussey and Phil Freeman.

Visit the Transformation section to read additional articles about the Transform Jefferson City proposal.

“Would it be cheaper in the long run to knock the old St. Mary's buildings down and build energy-efficient new buildings purpose-built for their new uses?”

The Transformation Action Team focused on redevelopment of St. Mary's looked at just this question and concluded that the highest value to the community and to a potential developer would be to reuse the existing facility to the greatest extent possible. Demolition and reconstruction of a similar amount of square footage would be substantially more expensive than adaptive reuse of the existing building and parking structures. The existing mechanical systems are modern and can be reused in the future very effectively. The conclusion of the action team was that the plan for reuse was substantially better than a reconstruction.

“Has the Missouri State Board of Nursing given its approval for expanding the Lincoln University nursing program, even though it has denied many other expansions at other schools?”

Lincoln University will complete the request for expansion of the nursing program to the Missouri State Board of Nursing contingent on the outcome of the Transform Jefferson City campaign. If the ballot measure is approved by the voters, the request for expansion would be submitted to the Missouri State Board of Nursing as outlined in the original Transformation plan.

“What will be taxed under sales tax? Or what will be exempt from sales tax?”

Everything that is currently taxed under the five-year capital improvement half-cent sales tax for the city will be taxed in this proposal. Items like prescription drugs, utilities, and gasoline that are not currently subject to city sales tax will not be subject to the half-cent economic development sales tax either.

“Why would the city make improvements and spend taxpayer dollars on state-owned property?”

Those improvements will be made by either the state or the city. Taxpayers are involved in both transactions. We believe the redevelopment of the MSP site is more important to Jefferson City and our local community than the state of Missouri. This investment will ensure progress on the redevelopment which will not occur if these funds are not invested.

“What if the state wants to use this site for building state offices some day?”

The master plan clearly indicates areas that will be used for state facilities someday. They are not a conflict with the historic site or the road network that are a part of Transformation. None of this money will be spent on the parcels under consideration by the state.

“If you build the conference center there, where are all the state employees going to park if you take away their lot?”

We estimate that at either the Broadway/McCarty Street location or the MSP location there are approximately 200 parking spaces currently being used by state employees. In the final configuration and planning of parking for the conference center, the replacement of the spaces will need to be considered.

“Why do you want to move the MOPAC depot? Why not use the historic building in its historic setting, for its intended purpose (to pick up Amtrak passengers)?”

The current multipack depot is not being moved. This building is the historic depot for passenger traffic in and out of Jefferson City. The current building is being used as a staging area for Union Pacific employees. It is not being used as a depot. If Union Pacific operations are moved out of the downtown area, it is anticipated that that building will be acquired by the city and reused as a depot.

“Has the proposal for a convention center ever been put up for a vote of the people to either approve or oppose?”

A direct vote on a conference center has never been taken. The closest to a referendum on a conference center was held last February when the lodging tax was increased by three cents to partially fund a new conference center. That vote was 56 percent to 44 percent. We believe there may be some confusion about previous elections held in the city regarding a casino which did not involve a conference center.

“How much money will be used to complete the Adrian Island project?”

Zero. None of the money from the Transformation sales tax will be used to complete the tunnel project currently being designed to access Adrian's Island. This is a separate project outside of Transformation. The answers to this question and more than 40 more can be found online at http://jeffersoncitytransformation.com/faq.

“How much will be budgeted to maintain and clean up after each flood?”

None of these sales tax dollars are being invested in structures in a floodplain. There are monies budgeted for riverfront development planning but no construction. Flooding is not an issue with the Transformation project.

Visit the Transformation section to read additional articles about the Transform Jefferson City proposal.

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