As a resident of Jefferson City's East Side neighborhood and someone deeply invested in its revival and development, I'd like to express my support for the Chesterfield Hotels/Arcturis MSP redevelopment plan based on the following reasons:
- Quality of life: the Chesterfield plan would add residential space in an area where housing is desperately needed following the 2019 tornado. Retail space and restaurants would provide residents with new shopping/dining options and employment opportunities. The new amphitheater would provide a comfortable, safe venue for residents to enjoy local or touring performing acts (see recent concerts held in city streets to understand the need for this amenity). Taken together, these benefits will encourage new and current residents to adopt and invest in the potential of this neighborhood community.
- Local character: the Chesterfield plan is the best option for maintaining the historic and stylistic character of Jefferson City while adding new development and amenities. Based on renderings submitted, new development would be woven between historic MSP buildings and blended seamlessly with the surrounding neighborhood. The proposed hotel would give residents and visitors alike an incredible view of the city and river valley. By comparison, renderings of the convention center from the Farmers plan show a sterile structure that would stand in stark contrast to the warm, historic architecture of the surrounding community and calls to mind deleterious past movements to cull local character in the name of "modern" development.
- Best use: the Chesterfield plan maximizes the development potential of the MSP site. While both plans would provide convention space, lodging, and amateur sports venues, proposed use of the MSP as a park or soccer complex position the site as a clear afterthought behind development of the St. Marys convention center. Beyond being redundant with nearby amenities, neither a park nor soccer complex can provide the transformative economic and social benefits that would flow from the new housing and business development present in the Chesterfield plan.
Years of poor property management, neglect of historic character and last year's tornado have taken a heavy toll on the East Side community. The MSP redevelopment is an unprecedented opportunity to improve the lives of its residents and set the growth trajectory of the area for the next 50 years. My hope is that our civic leaders will make the right choice for the East Side and the city as a whole.