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Your Opinion: Preservation group moves to protect MSP site

Your Opinion: Preservation group moves to protect MSP site

August 28th, 2013 by Steve Veile, president, Historic City of Jefferson in News

Dear Editor:

Good to see the city's Historic Preservation Commission taking the lead on preservation of the historic campus at the old Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP).

For almost 10 years now those buildings have suffered "demolition by neglect" and the prospect of losing them to actual demolition is now real. Members of the Historic City of Jefferson toured the buildings earlier this summer to see the extensive damage first hand. Mother Nature is filling the vacuum left by the state of Missouri's failure to act to preserve these historic structures.

Everybody says they want to save the historic campus, but actions speaks louder than words. The gaping holes in the roofs need to be fixed to stop the damage now being done as thousands of gallons of water pour through the buildings wherever it rains. That is an immediate need. Please, at least appropriate money to stabilize the buildings until such a time as money can be found to actually rehab them.

The historic campus of the old MSP has proven to be a tourism gold mine for Jefferson City. But it is also an asset that belongs to the entire state of Missouri. Why not make it into a state park? Like Alcatraz, which is a baby compared to the historic buildings at MSP, such a park would attract many thousands of visitors each year. That translates into an economic plus for Jefferson City. And DNR would do an excellent job of maintaining and running this new park.

But, if the state doesn't want it, then for heaven's sake, deed it over to the city, the county or a non-profit organization that can raise the funds to turn this situation around.