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MoDOT to donate park, monuments to city

MoDOT to donate park, monuments to city

March 14th, 2014 in News

The Blue Star Memorial Highway park between Missouri Boulevard. and U.S. 50 is dedicated to the more than 10,000 Missouri volunteers who served in the Spanish-American war.

Photo by Julie Smith

The Spanish-American War Memorial and the Blue Star Memorial Park where it stands should become the property of the city by early summer.

The Jefferson City Historic Preservation Commission learned Tuesday that the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) intends to donate the park and monuments to the city.

The Jefferson City Bittersweet Garden Club, affiliated with the Federated Garden Clubs of America, helps maintain the park currently.

The state department will survey the property before paperwork is finalized.

The commission has been following the bronze statue's future since the consideration of relocating the statue evolved in the summer of 2013.

Volunteers with the Missouri Society for Military History, a friends group to the Museum of Missouri Military History based on the Ike Skelton Training Site, conducted "a feasibility study of whether to someday, maybe, possibly consider moving the (statue)."

The museum will relocate this spring, and volunteers were researching options to further promote the Missouri National Guard's heritage.

A false rumor also began to circulate that MoDOT, the current property owner, intended to sell the property.

City officials urged the commission to get involved. And members have been following developments since.

The roadside park between the U.S. 50 Expressway and Missouri Boulevard was built in the early 1950s, when the location was countryside west of the city limits.

The life-sized statue memorializes more than 10,000 Missourians who served in the 1898 Spanish-American and Philippine-American wars and the U.S. involvement in the Boxer Rebellion.

Carl Mose, who also created the Stan Musial figure at Busch Stadium, crafted the figure, which was added to the park in 1967 as a donation from the Sons of Spanish-American War Veterans Association.

The circle drive area also features the Hawthorn Garden Club's Blue Star Memorial Highway sign and a large, aged metal sign detailing the city's history on one side and the seat of state government's on the other, erected by the State Historical Society of Missouri and the State Highway Commission in 1953.

In other business, the commission:

• Released for demolition 1110 Monroe St., as part of the Capital Region Medical Center expansion, and 1842 E. McCarty St. and 2653 Frog Hollow Road, owned by the Jefferson City Public Schools.

• Reviewed the demolition plan for 510 E. Ashley St., which would be funded by the city's Community Development Block Grant to provide a clear lot for the River City Habitat for Humanity.

• Approved a letter to the Cole County Commission opposed to razing the sheriff's house and jail, suggesting reuse of the property designated a city Landmark in 2010.