During this June and July, Wayne Senville, editor of the Planning Commissioners Journal, spent six weeks traveling across the U.S. on Route 50. One of his stops was in Jefferson City, Missouri, and including a visit to the former Missouri State Penitentiary. The following is from the start of Senville's report posted on the Route 50 web blog. Use the link to read the full report.
"After the Jefferson City Planning Commission meeting wrapped up on Thursday evening, members of the Commission, staff, and I sat down to enjoy some dinner (courtesy of Jefferson City) and talk.
As I've usually done during this trip along Route 50, I asked them what they viewed as the most challenging issue facing the city. The first response -- and one echoed by many of those sitting around the table -- was the state pen. That's right: the state penitentiary. Actually, the prison moved out of the downtown area about four years ago, to a more rural site in Cole County. But what remains are massive prison buildings located on a 142 acre site on the edge of downtown.
Instead of viewing this as one big headache, city & state officials, along with the business community, are viewing this as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Jeff City. Planning Director Janice McMillan was kind enough to give a call to Charles Brzuchalski ("C.B.") who staffs the Missouri State Penitentiary Redevelopment Commission, formed to plan for and then oversee the redevelopment of the prison site. Joined by Janice and Jefferson City Senior Planner Eric Barron, C.B. took us on a two hour walk around the site.
Needless to say, there are a host of challenges in redeveloping the prison -- but even greater opportunities. ... "
[use the link to read the balance of the report which discusses the challenges involved with the huge project ... you can also listen to three audio clips from Senville's conversation with Charles Brzuchalski (total of 17 minutes). In the first C.B. provides an overview of the planning process and challenges for the site. In the second he talks about some of the inmates in Housing Unit No. 4. In the third C.B. discusses two well-known female inmates.]