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story.lead_photo.caption The Heartland Port Authority Board on Tuesday approved a logo for the port created by Jefferson City marketing group Communique.

The Heartland Port Authority Board is taking steps to put together a marketing plan for the planned Missouri River port in Jefferson City.

The board on Tuesday approved a logo for the port created by Jefferson City marketing group Communique. The logo is designed in the shape of a container ship, with blocks on top in the shape of containers. In the back of the ship, where the ship is steered, is a small outline of the United States with a heart in the middle. This logo will be on letterhead, business cards and on a port website when it is developed.

Communique Chairman Steve Veile told the board last month his firm would provide the logo for free, but developing a bigger marketing plan would come with a cost.

Veile proposed on Tuesday the board get grant funding to help pay his firm to develop a strategic communication plan that would include a marketing strategy and developing a port authority website.

"This marketing plan we would develop would be one that could be used for several years by the authority," Veile said.

Roger Fischer, vice chairman of the Heartland Port Authority Board, said he hopes this will help people understand the economic impact the port can have on this area. Board member Hank Stratman said he hopes it will be a way to attract "big money" to invest in the port.

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Veile suggested the board apply for another grant from the Missouri Agricultural Small Business Development Authority. Those grants can go as high as $200,000, but the plan Communique is proposing would cost around $25,000, he said.

The board directed Missy Bonnot, Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce interim president and director, to move forward with applying for the grant.

Earlier this year, the Heartland Port Authority received a $183,700 grant from MASBDA for a market study and business development plan. That study by Iowa-based Decision Innovation Solutions showed operation of a port in Central Missouri would be economical to potential users in a 24-county area. The primary draw, however, is Cole, Boone, Callaway, Maries, Miller, Moniteau and Osage counties.

The study also showed the best way to operate the port would be to have an entity operate the port and pay a concession fee to the Port Authority for the right to do so.

Meanwhile, there's still land conveyance work to be done at the port site.

Gov. Mike Parson in July signed a locally sponsored bill transferring 116 acres of state-owned land just east of the Ike Skelton Training Facility to the Heartland Port Authority — buoying prospects for a future river port there.

However, negotiations remain to be made with the state Office of Administration over how much the land is worth and how the Port Authority could have access to it — be it through rent, long-term lease or purchase.

Heartland Port Authority Chairman Rick Mihalevich said Tuesday he will continue to work with state Rep. Rudy Veit, R-Wardsville, and state Sen. Mike Bernskoetter, R-Jefferson City, who sponsored the legislation to transfer the land, about keeping the process moving.

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