A state lawmaker from mid-Missouri says the old Missouri State Penitentiary (MSP) bill-signing is a “great day” for Jefferson City.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe speaks at the MSP bill ceremony in Jefferson City on July 11, 2017 (photo courtesy of Ryan Burns at the Office of Administration)

Governor Eric Greitens (R) signed legislation into law this week, which transfers 32 acres of the old MSP to Jefferson City.

State Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, says the bill had strong bipartisan support.

“I think the vote in the House was, there may be a couple of no votes, the vast majority, 140, 150 yes votes,” Fitzwater says. “It was something that was obviously a clear economic development opportunity for the state as a whole, not just Jefferson City. So it’s pretty exciting.”

Fitzwater tells Missourinet this is an exciting time for Jefferson City.

“You have the eclipse happening here, NASA is going to be here in Jefferson City in mid-August. You’re going to have hundreds of thousands of people in mid-Missouri to watch the eclipse. You know, there’s some real opportunities,” says Fitzwater.

Jefferson City plans to redevelop the historic 32-acre property into a tourist attraction.

Senate Majority Leader Mike Kehoe, R-Jefferson City, says MSP tours have increased from 3,000 to 33,000 annually.

State Rep. Travis Fitzwater, R-Holts Summit, speaks on the Missouri House floor in 2017 (photo courtesy of Tim Bommel at Missouri House Communications)

Mayor Carrie Tergin says Jefferson City is the only city in the nation with a state Capitol, river and a historic prison. Fitzwater wants to capitalize on that.

“So it’s kind of exciting to think they’re going to expand the development around here, hopefully put some retail in, put a hotel and a convention center,” Fitzwater says. “I mean it’s going to be a really neat area to build and opportunity for hopefully some young folks even to live down here and be a part of the new developments.”

Jefferson City is spending about $8 million to upgrade intersections in the site’s vicinity.

Fitzwater is serving his second term in the Missouri House. He was first elected in 2014, and represents parts of Callaway and Cole counties in the House.


Click here to listen to Missourinet news director Brian Hauswirth’s full two-minute interview with State Rep. Travis Fitzwater, which was recorded on July 11, 2017 inside the old Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City: