A cooperative capital project involving the redevelopment of the Missouri State Penitentiary is in a "holding pattern" as the state, city and developer continue negotiations, members of the Cole County Commission were told Tuesday.
Earlier this year, the Jefferson City Council voted to allocate expiring sales tax dollars that were designated for a nixed roundabout project to the MSP redevelopment. The council voted to allocate approximately $1.5 million that was initially for a proposed roundabout at the intersection of Dunklin Street and Clark Avenue to develop a street as part of the city's MSP redevelopment. The county is also putting in $1.5 million for the project.
The 30-acre MSP property is set to be developed into a multi-use space centered around a hotel and conference center. The entrance for the street on the MSP property would be off Chestnut Street where a state parking lot is now and work its way north to near A-Hall, where a parking lot would be located to serve the hotel and conference center.
"Because of the ongoing negotiations and their uncertainty, we're waiting to see what we're doing with the road," Jefferson City Engineer David Bange said. "Parts of the road could be constructed with no impact on whatever happens in terms of the hotel/conference center, but it would be nice to do the whole thing as a single package."
The council deadline for an agreement with the developer is Dec. 31. The state-imposed deadline to break ground on the project is July 2022.
In an update on another cooperative project with the city, Bange said 90 percent of the design work is finished on improvements for Grant Street.
Grant Street intersects with East McCarty Street and heads north leading into Ellis-Porter Riverside Park where a new outdoor amphitheater opened to host a number of events this summer. Traffic is expected to increase on the street due to the improvements at the park.
"We had hoped to start construction work by now," Bange said. "But in conversations with Missouri American Water, they told us they have a 2-inch line to serve houses on Grant, and they want to increase the size of the pipe.
"Because they don't have funds ready to do that now, we decided to hold off on starting work so we didn't tear up the street twice," he said.
Bange noted: "The improvements in this project would include a sidewalk and a street overlay, with a slight rebuild as you enter the park to add a splitter island along with lighting and landscaping work in that area. It's not possible to widen the street, but we can make the area look better as it's somewhat overgrown right now. With the addition of the sidewalk, we'll also put in some retaining walls, and that will allow for easier maintenance in the area."
Bange said the money for the work on Grant Street would be split with $550,000 coming from the county sales tax and $100,000 coming from the Jefferson City Parks Department.
City officials said the city has spent $4 million of the $5.5 million they allocated for cooperative projects in the current half-cent sales tax cycle where the county has spent $3.4 million.
With the county giving $550,000 for the Grant Street work and the city and county giving $1.5 million for MSP, then both sides reach the $5.5 million committed to cooperative projects in the current cycle.
Looking into the next round of sales tax funding, the county begins collecting money from its half-cent sales tax in January, and the city will start their collections in May.
In April 2021, voters approved extending the county half-cent capital improvement sales tax another five years; voters did the same thing August 2021 for the city's tax.
There were four city-county projects listed during the city's campaign: repairing the High Street Viaduct for $5 million, reworking the Stadium Boulevard corridor for $3 million, making Monroe Street two ways for $1 million and economic development/grant match for $2 million.
"We currently have a contract with Bartlett and West who is doing a more in-depth study on the viaduct, and we hope to get that report back in the next six weeks," Bange said. "That should show if they recommend a large rehab or an all-out replacement of the viaduct. We also haven't moved forward with any plans on Monroe Street, but there have been some discussions about possibly other funding that could be available for that project. The $1 million that was proposed in the campaign won't allow for a full rebuild of the street.
"There also hasn't been anything finalized as to what we would consider the Stadium corridor, but the top two contenders would be something at Edgewood Drive or Southwest Boulevard," Bange said. "In the campaign literature, the idea was it would be McCarty Street-esque in terms of chewing away at getting the project done. It might take a couple sales tax cycles to get that whole corridor improved."