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Adrian’s Island park named after development supporter Deborah Cooper


JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Bicentennial Bridge in Jefferson City will connect the Capitol grounds to a new park on Adrian’s Island named after a former bank employee who advocated for its development decades ago. 

The Deborah Cooper Park on Adrian’s Island will commemorate Cooper, who pushed for a development on the site during her time as executive assistant to Sam B. Cook, the chair of the boards for Central Bancompany and the Central Trust Bank in the 1980s. 

Cooper died in 1986, and her family started the Deborah Cooper Foundation in her memory to raise money for the project. The deed for the land required the project to be named after her.

The name was officially unveiled at a Jefferson City Parks and Recreation Commission meeting this week.  

“It’s a fitting tribute to a person and family who gave so much to this foundation,” Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin told The Missouri Times. “It’s great to see this come to fruition and to know the desire for a riverfront park started decades ago. We’re thankful for her vision and wish she was here to see it come to life — none of this would have happened without the vision of those who came before us, and now we get to enjoy it.”

The park, located along the Missouri River, will include walking and biking trails and feature assets taken from the statehouse during its renovation, including stone columns from the top of the building. 

The Bicentennial Chessboard will also be a centerpiece of the new park. The large outdoor board, a collaboration between local Scout troops and the World Chess Hall of Fame, will feature engravings celebrating the state’s history. 

The Bicentennial Bridge will connect to a 30-acre parkland north of the Union Pacific Railroad to expand Capitol tourism and provide access to the new park as well as the City Greenway and Katy Trail system. 

The entrance to the bridge features a Gold Star Memorial honoring veterans and their families, and educational panels will adorn its length from various sponsors. 

The largest project approved by the Bicentennial Commission, the bridge has several beneficiaries in the community; the DeLong family has been longtime supporters, putting more than $3.5 million behind the construction while Union Pacific announced its $200,000 sponsorship earlier this year. 

Construction on the bridge is still underway. Tergin said the team would likely have a better idea of when the construction will be completed in the coming weeks.