JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.(Ozark Radio News) – Plans for two local area parks purchased and designated by the state while former Governor Jay Nixon was in office have been halted until further notice.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that the lands of three area parks – Ozark Mountain State Park in Taney County, Bryant Creek State Park in Douglas County, and Eleven Point State Park in Oregon County – have been closed to the public, with no plans of development in the future.
Listings on the Missouri State Parks website have the parks listed as “closed”, with information on the parks removed.
The lands in Oregon, Douglas, and Taney counties were acquired by the state by Nixon, who was criticized by lawmakers for purchasing land for new parks instead of dealing with a long backlog of maintenance issues at existing parks. Locals also derided plans for new parks, saying that having yet another park in the area removes property from the tax base and harms local counties.
Lawmakers unsuccessfully tried last year to force the state to sell back the Oregon County land, which was purchased by the state with money received from lead mining settlements.
A proposed state park in Reynolds County named after Governor Nixon has not been opened or developed, and was also listed on the Missouri State Parks website as “closed”.
The state recently spent $52 million on Echo Bluff State Park in Shannon County, which was opened July 30, 2016. Echo Bluff State Park was developed after the 476-acre park, at the location of the former Camp Zoe, was purchased by the Missouri State Park system 2013. A raid during an event at Camp Zoe in October 2010 found up to 200 dealers selling a variety of drugs. The former owner of the land was sentenced to 30 months in prison.
Governor Nixon portrayed these projects, as well as Echo Bluff State Park, as a way for rural areas to receive an economic boon through tourism.
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