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Your Opinion: Conference center needs 'central' location

Your Opinion: Conference center needs 'central' location

November 9th, 2011 by Robert Mansur, Jefferson City in News

Dear Editor:

Does a historical designation matter publicly or privately? The McCarty street block being considered for the convention center, in 1897 was identified as the "Jefferson City Central District;" to my family it was the beginning of several generations of the Petry Family who arrived in our city from Chamois in 1891.

In 1897, Ernest Petry, my grandfather, a second generation German immigrant, purchased that block and as far south as above a cornfield on a hillside south and beyond what is now the Expressway.

I possess a photograph of this area taken from that cornfield, showing the back of the Supreme Court Building with the Old Capitol in the background. The photo has been dated at 1906, based upon the dates of construction of the Supreme Court Building.

Subsequently, grandfather, a contractor, developed the area, especially Washington Street. There in that block he built four bungalows, three for family, one to sell (two remain today, unrazed) and a four-family apartment building; all the way to the former Miller Street. I just reached 90 years of age and in the 1930s to the "50s, this block was my "home away from home."

Being the last survivor in Jefferson City of this over 100-year-old family, is of no consequence as to the priority of this site for a future convention center. However, as a prime central district in our city, it is of consequence.

The convention center should be "central" to the business of our community, for many reasons. It should be within walking distance of those entities relating to business, shopping and domicile as far as possible. Consider the following; to and from, nearby by hotels, the Capitol complex, uptown shopping area, government business buildings, the Miller Performing Arts Center, five downtown churches and our library. People do not come to conventions to spend all their time at the convention center.

Finally, consider this; access to and from a convention center located at this site.

Both McCarty Street and the express way are easily accessible via Broadway, Washington-Miller and Jefferson Streets.