Some 50 Jefferson Citians got a first look Tuesday at a four-phase plan to revitalize the Historic Southside and Old Munichburg area.
The collaborative effort, drafted by a St. Louis-based design and planning firm, outlines potential immediate changes and goals for the next 20 years.
Capital Region Medical Center (CRMC) hired H3 Studios, the firm that led the renovation of Forest Park, to assess its surrounding neighborhood, which encompasses U.S. 50 and several educational institutions, including Lincoln University, and Helias Catholic and Jefferson City high schools. The firm started its work in January, spending time observing the neighborhood and talking to residents.
The Historic Southside and Old Munichburg District and Neighborhood Plan presented Tuesday during an interactive workshop at CRMC was the result of previous community meetings and discussions with a 24-member board comprised of Jefferson City officials, the Old Munichburg Association, residents and more.
Everything will be finalized in the fall after the proposed plan is changed based on residents' comments from Tuesday, said Tim Breihan, principal with H3 Studios. Then, it will be presented to the city with the intent of it being adopted as an official city plan.
Proposed changes include:
U.S. 50 corridor improvements and beautification
Roundabout at Stadium Boulevard and Jefferson Street
Monroe Street expansion for two-way traffic
Dunklin Street and Old Munichburg core business district infill and revitalization
Incremental housing improvement and infill
Expanded Wears Creek Park and recreation facilities
Mixed-income, mixed-use redevelopment along Elm Street and Clark Avenue
Stadium Boulevard expansion, realignment and streetscape improvements
Realignment and south extension of Madison Street
Reconfiguration and improvement of the Stadium Boulevard and U.S. 54 interchange
Derelict housing was a common concern voiced by the community members. Some said the city needs stricter codes to force landlords to take better care of their properties.
"There has been some housing that is run-down and, unfortunately, some landlords don't want to improve it and just get by," said Mark Struemph, a Jefferson City resident living on Oak Street. "We'd like to have (better) codes and improve the looks of the area."
Jim Wisch, chairman of the CRMC board, said many of the residents in the Historic Southside/Old Munichburg area he talked to often see abandoned vehicles parked outside and live near occupied, but unkept homes.
"They want to protect their investment in property values, of course, and they don't know where to go to get the neighbors to do what they should be doing," Wisch said.
Don Irwin, a member of Central United Church of Christ, was one of several people at the meeting to express that housing improvements should be made in the first phase of the project — not the second as presented.
He added a Wears Creek clean up and improved safety could convince neighborhood residents early on that "change is good."
The plan is also designed to re-establish an identify for the Historic Southside and Old Munichburg. In developing the plan, Breihan said he learned the area carries multiple meanings for many people.
The majority agreed, he said, the neighborhood should not be associated with downtown Jefferson City in order to maintain its uniqueness and they want historical assets highlighted.