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Missouri Legislature could appropriate funds for historic Jefferson City Amtrak station repairs

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — Missouri officials are hoping for a legislative appropriation to repair and reopen a historic former Amtrak station in the capital city.  

The former Union Hotel, now a part of the Jefferson Landing State Historic Site, served as the Amtrak station in Jefferson City until it was closed after a structural inspection in 2019. The Office of Administration (OA)’s Division of Facilities Management, Design, and Construction (FMDC) is working with the Department of Budget and Planning to get a $9 million repair project written into the FY23 state budget, according to OA spokesman Chris Moreland. 

“The long-term rehabilitation and restoration specifics of the Union Hotel project will be to stabilize the building structurally, bring it back up to working conditions, [and] make the building both weather tight and improve its water-shedding capacity,” Moreland told The Missouri Times.

Moreland said the project would include bringing the structure up to code, installing an elevator, upgrading the HVAC system, and providing accommodations to bring the building into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). 

The project’s planning stage would begin in July if approved by the legislature, Moreland said, estimating it would take two years to complete the extensive renovation. 

The appropriation would be part of next session’s HB 18, which will include funding for state departments’ repair and improvement projects. 

The hotel, built in 1855 along Jefferson Street, was used for storage and as a tenement after its closure following the Civil War. The property and surrounding buildings were acquired by the state in the 1960s and became home to Missouri State Parks offices and the Elizabeth Rozier Gallery housing temporary art and history exhibits. Its bottom floor was repurposed as the Amtrak station in 1984. 

The site is owned by OA and managed by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Jefferson City. 

Historic City of Jefferson campaigned to have the site included as part of the Capitol Complex this session while Missouri Preservation included it on its 2021 Places in Peril list denoting historic locations at-risk historic locations across the state. 

Amtrak itself may receive additional funding next session. The Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) is advocating for a larger budget after lawmakers appropriated enough to fund twice-daily round trips only through the first half of FY 22, leaving services halved beginning in January.