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Jefferson City, Cole County leaders work on 2017 economic development plan

Jefferson City and Cole County leaders are working on ways to improve the area’s economy in 2017.

City Council members and county commissioners held a joint work session Monday with the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce to discuss goals for the year.

Here are just a few highlights from the session on projects planned for 2017.

The chamber will continue developing the former Missouri State Penitentiary site by talking to new Gov. Eric Greitens about the MSP master plan and work on the proposed MSP Parkway.

Fundraising will continue to get the last $900,000 for the Riverfront Project to build a pedestrian and bicycle bridge to Adrian’s Island through private donors as well as federal and state grants.

The chamber also plans to do a feasibility study and get approval from the Missouri Department of Transportation to develop a port authority on the Missouri River near the Algoa Correctional Center.

A new task force with the Home Builders Association and Board of Realtors will look at affordable housing options for the community’s workforce.

And the chamber plans to start Project Retail by bringing in a retail consultant after several stores announced they were closing up shop in Jefferson City, including Kmart, Sears and Barnes & Noble.

“It’s really a topic that’s at the forefront with recent store closings nationwide, not just here in Jefferson City,” Mayor Carrie Tergin said. “… But the good thing is, by focusing on retail we can see what are the challenges and what would it take to bring retail and attract retail.”

In 2016, four companies announced expansion projects in Jefferson City, including Scholastic and Modern Litho.

The expansions are expected to bring 270 jobs to the community and more than $16.5 million in community investment.

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