Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plans to Develop Jay Nixon State Park Are Moving Forward. but It Could Take Years to Open the Land

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Plans to Develop Jay Nixon State Park Are Moving Forward. but It Could Take Years to Open the Land

Article excerpt

JEFFERSON CITY -- Two years after Missouri public land boosters raised concerns over the future of four mothballed state parks, officials are moving forward with plans to open the properties.

But don't expect to visit the land any time soon. The acres in question could take years to develop and open. Officials say they still need to line up funding and public support before moving forward with construction.

Missouri state parks officials are drafting development plans for one of the four parks: Bryant Creek State Park in Douglas County. Officials are also preparing to seek public input for Ozark Mountain State Park in Taney County.

"We're in the process for Bryant Creek," said Ben Ellis, director of Missouri State Parks. "We announced the process two weeks ago at Ozark Mountain."

He said officials intend to draft a plan this winter or next spring for Jay Nixon State Park, in Reynolds and Iron counties, the closest of the four to the St. Louis area.

Eleven Point State Park, in Oregon County, still faces a lawsuit over the legality of its purchase. A trial in that case is scheduled to start Dec. 19 in Oregon County.

Ellis said public input will be key to developing each of the parks.

An informational meeting on the 1,230-acre Jay Nixon State Park is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Black River Center at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, 148 Taum Sauk Trail, in Lesterville.

Jay Nixon State Park was purchased in fiscal year 2015, made possible by $1.5 million in money earned through a settlement with the ASARCO lead mining company.

The future park is named after former Gov. Jay Nixon, a Democrat whose administration oversaw the acquisition.

"Future generations of Missourians will benefit from these wonderful additions to the Missouri State Park system," Nixon said in an email, adding that the park named after him "not only hosts a significant section of Missouri's wonderful Ozark Trail, it also has a very pretty 50-acre lake for unique upland bass fishing opportunities. …

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