Our Opinion: Catering to enhance our majestic Capitol

Two state attractions soon may be serving Missourians in an additional way.

Legislation now is being considered to permit catered events at both the Capitol and the Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) redevelopment site.

Similar proposals in the House and Senate would authorize the 11-member Capitol Commission to host formal events, receptions and other gatherings featuring catered food and beverages. Proceeds would benefit the commission, which is involved with the art, decorations and appearance of the Capitol.

The legislation has been introduced in advance of the 2019 centennial celebration of the first legislative session in today’s Capitol.

“To celebrate this 100th anniversary, we’re asking the body to … allow the commission to enter into contracts with vendors to sell food and beverages at commemorative events in this building,” said state Rep. Tom Flanigan, sponsor of the House bill and a member of the commission. “It’s a way for the Capitol Commission to raise funds.”

Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, sponsor of the Senate bill and another panel member, added: “It’s an opportunity to invite folks in for things like black tie events, and a way to let Missourians know it (the Capitol) is a great place.”

The bill’s inclusion of a second venue, the MSP site, excites Jefferson City’s Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB). The CVB has an agreement with the state that allows the CVB to conduct a variety of guided tours at the historic prison buildings.

Our Capitol is a majestic structure that features impressive architecture, art and sculpture. The building is surrounded by beautiful grounds and gardens, and affords a majestic view of the Missouri River.

As we close in on a centennial celebration, we must redouble efforts to prevent deterioration and maintain the integrity of this seat of state government.

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