Jefferson City has been awarded a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Commerce to assist with the redevelopment of Missouri State Penitentiary.
The grant, from the department’s Economic Development Administration, will be matched with $1.6 million from the city’s half-cent capital improvement sales tax.
These funds within the sales tax have been previously designated for public infrastructure at the MSP site, City Attorney Ryan Moehlman previously said.
The Jefferson City Council gave its approval of the grant application in March 2020. In April, the Cole County Commission also gave its support.
The grant will be used for roads, parking and infrastructure needs within the Missouri State Penitentiary redevelopment area.
The city is currently finalizing a development agreement with a St. Louis-based group including Chesterfield Hotels to redevelop the approximately 30-acre property into a multi-use space centered around a hotel and conference center.
The deadline to complete that developer agreement was recently extended until Dec. 31, 2021.
The EDA grant is expected to help create 67 jobs and generate nearly $28 million in private investment in the area, according to a news release from the U.S. Department of Commerce.
Sonny Sanders, Jefferson City Planning and Protective Services director, said the grant is part of the EDA’s disaster relief program.
The funds from the Additional Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Act of 2019 provided the EDA with $600 million in additional Economic Adjustment Assistance Program funds for disaster relief and recovery areas.
Jefferson City qualified due to tornado damage on the MSP site in May 2019, and the area falls into an eligible Opportunity Zone.
Opportunity Zones, created by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, are spurring economic development in economically-distressed communities across the nation. Missouri has 161, with three being in Cole County.
“We look forward to utilizing that very important grant,” Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said. “That was very exciting word to get.”