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Demolition continues at the Missouri State Penitentiary

EDITOR'S NOTE: This story has been changed to remove references to a site master plan which is no longer in place.


Jefferson City is demolishing a building and clearing a large area of the Missouri State Penitentiary to make way for future development.

The city is now in its third week of demolition on the Saddle Tree Factory, a dangerous structure on the MSP site. Housing and Property Supervisor Dave Helmick said the building has been neglected for about 20 years, was damaged by the 2019 tornado and poses a threat to trespassers who would go inside.

Helmick expects the building to be completely demolished by the end of next week, and said crews are finishing up clearing unwanted debris, brush and vegetation from the property. Once the area is clear, he said crews will bring in topsoil, seed and straw to create a green space.

"This is a good use of the property because it's sat vacant for so long, nothing has gone on in this section of the MSP," Helmick said.

The city controls 18 acres of the MSP site, while the rest is owned by the state. Jefferson City's plans do not interfere with the historic part of the site.

"They have a great tour up in the historic section of MSP and that's really taken care of, (but) this part was kind of a blighted out layer of what's positive happening over there," Helmick said.

Hemlick said the projects are being paid for through city, state and federal funds. The demolition is costing about $204,000 while the debris removal is costing about $64,000.

The city is contracted with Premier Demolition for the demo and MACC for the debris removal.

City spokesperson Molly Bryan said this work is creating a clean slate for potential development.

"This is prime location, it's beautiful riverfront that we have here in Jefferson City that has been unusable for years because of these dangerous buildings," Bryan said. "So, being able to lay the groundwork and leave a clean slate for that future development has been a top priority."

The city also has plans to work with the state to deconstruct part of the prison walls and move them to other areas of the site. Hemlick said this project is still fluid, so no cost estimate is available yet.

Plans for the state penitentiary site, courtesy Jefferson City

The State Office of Administration also has plans for its part of the penitentiary. A spokesperson did not respond for comment on Monday.

Article Topic Follows: Jefferson City

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Morgan Buresh

Morgan is an evening anchor and reporter who came to ABC 17 News in April 2023.


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