Jefferson City, Cole and Callaway counties weigh port authority agreement

Study finds millions could be made with new port

Jefferson City Cole and Callaway counties weigh port authority agreement

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. - UPDATE: The council unanimously approved both the port authority agreement and the federal grant contribution.

The City of Jefferson is the first to consider a port authority agreement with Cole and Callaway counties. The two counties are set to address the agreement Tuesday.

If the city consents to the agreement, it will coordinate in the future planning and development of a regional port district inside Jefferson City limits alongside the two counties.

The port, which would be called the Heartland Port District of Central Missouri, would have two potential sites along the Missouri River, east of Jefferson City. 

The council, in addition to the port authority agreement, considered supplying $150,000 for a federal build grant application that would go towards the port district. The Cole County Commission is being asked to match that amount, and the Callaway County Commission will consider providing $75,000.

Randy Allen, the CEO of the Jefferson City Area Chamber of Commerce, said the main site will be located on the southern bank of the river in Cole County, next to the Jefferson City Correctional Center. A second, smaller site would be about a mile or less east of that, on the northern bank in Callaway County

"(The north side) will be a light version of what we see on the south side, primarily because there’s no railroad over there," Allen said.

According to a study commissioned by the chamber, the city and both counties, the port district comes with a potential cost of $60 million to $90 million, depending on the extent of the contruction at either site. The study also found it could yield a potential benefit of $200 million to $581 million.

"It will be a magnet for businesses to come to our community," Allen said.

Jefferson City Mayor Carrie Tergin said the city's position in the state and country offers a unique opportunity for trade taking place in the city. Before the council meeting on Monday, Tergin told ABC 17 she was "definitely very supportive" of the port authority agreement.

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