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Government, Politics & Issues

Missouri Environmental Agency Says $400 Million Needed For State Parks

Kristin McGuire/Environment Missouri

Environment Missouri, a state environmental advocacy group, kicked off its campaign today by calling on state legislators to take action on what they say are $400 million worth of back-logged repairs to state parks.

The organization says that state parks are crucial to the economy, bringing an average of 18 million visitors a year, and providing over 14,000 jobs.

Parks are currently funded by (bear with me) half of a one-tenth-of-one-cent sales tax, a tax voters have continued to renew over the years. But Environment Missouri thinks that it’s not enough.

The list of back-logged repairs keeps growing longer, with repairs to numerous buildings-some of which have stood untouched since the Civilian Conservation Corps of the Great Depression.

Stuart Keating, a state advocate for Environment Missouri, says that if we don’t do anything fast, we compromise our standing as one the great state park systems in the country.

One popular attraction, which many people might not know is part of the state parks system, is the Katy Trail. According to Keating, due to its expansiveness, it is particularly vulnerable.

“The Katy Trail by its very nature has a very large amount of infrastructure, it’s a big road,” Keating says. “The trail has about $48 million of repairs that need to be done.”

Environment Missouri is optimistic about the bipartisan support the issue has seen, as well as the support of Governor Jay Nixon.

The state legislature will be considering a bond measure in the coming weeks which would set aside at least $40 million to state parks. If the General Assembly passes the bond measure it will go before voters in November. 

Updated 4:38 p.m.

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