Effort to Convert Jefferson City Prison to Office, Retail Space Gets Boost from EPA

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The Environmental Protection Agency announced yesterday that it is awarding $234,221 in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to to conduct a brownfield assessment of the former Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

The prison closed in 2004 as the oldest continuously operated prison west of the Mississippi River. The facility was built in the 1830s. In December a plan was unveiled to convert the prison -- listed on the National Historic Register -- into office space, retail, governmental buildings and a prison museum.

The EPA assessment of the facility will determine any environmental contamination on the property and what it might cost to remedy such hazards.

In its heyday the prison served such famous convicts as Sonny Liston, James Earl Ray, Pretty Boy Floyd and "Stagger Lee" Shelton.

P.S. View some incredible photos from inside the old prison here.

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