SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Missouri Governor Mike Parson voted against funding two Springfield projects: restoring the Jefferson Avenue Footbridge and revitalizing Jordan Creek.
The city of Springfield and leaders of the two projects were seeking funding from the Coronavirus State Fiscal Recovery fund.
Jefferson Avenue Footbridge
Parson vetoed a request for $5 million to maintain and improve a historic Springfield footbridge that spans over a rail line in the Commercial Street area.
The City of Springfield voted to apply for a federal grant to rehabilitate the bridge in March 2022. The footbridge was closed to pedestrians in 2016 due to safety concerns. This was the latest effort from the city to fund the project.
“It’s something that the community feels really strongly about,” the Springfield Assistant Director of Public Works Martin Gugel said to OzarksFirst in March 2022. “It’s part of their DNA. We want to do everything we can in order to preserve that.”
The Jefferson Avenue Footbridge is north of historic Commercial Street. It was built in 1902. The engineering estimate for rehabilitating the structure was around $3 million, but bids on completing the project were nearly double.
A $7.5 million fund for revitalizing and building trails through Jordan Creek was also vetoed by the governor.
“This funding was not part of my budget recommendations,” Parson wrote in an announcement of his vetoes. “However, this project could seek funding through other state programs.”
The Jordan Creek project would put an urban park in Springfield’s downtown area. Jordan Creek itself has been subverted and portions of it hidden from the surface. The Renew Jordan Creek project, if completed, would bring the creek to run along Mill Street between Main Street and Jefferson Avenue, on the north end of downtown Springfield near Founders Park.
The plan for the Jordan Creek project is part of a master plan to bolster tourism in the downtown Springfield area. This master plan includes bridges over the creek and a plaza or pavilion. If completed and built according to plan, the project would connect Main Street to the Idea Commons, Founder’s Park, Jordan Valley Park, and more.