Katy Trail State Park to open new welcome center in historic Treloar Mercantile

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Jefferson City, Missouri – Katy Trail State Park, one of Missouri’s scenic treasures, is set to enhance its visitor experience with the opening of a new welcome center, thanks to a significant contribution from philanthropists Dan and Connie Burkhardt. The welcome center will be housed in the historic Treloar Mercantile building.

Historic Building with a Modern Purpose

The welcome center will be situated in the Treloar Mercantile, a structure with deep historical roots built back in 1896 to coincide with the arrival of the KATY Railroad. This building, notable for retaining many of its original fixtures, was purchased by the Burkhardts in 2018 and subsequently added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2022. Their acquisition was aimed at preserving this historical gem and leveraging it to host community events along the trail.

The Burkhardts, both former executives at Edward Jones, later founded Magnificent Missouri, a nonprofit organization dedicated to partnering with Missouri State Parks. Their efforts have been focused on advocating for and enhancing Katy Trail State Park. Through Magnificent Missouri, the couple has facilitated numerous events that have drawn visitors to Treloar, helping them appreciate the trail’s rich history and stunning natural scenery.

Check also: Jefferson City receives $14.1 million for wastewater system upgrades

Legacy of Philanthropy and Trail Development

The Katy Trail itself owes much of its development to the philanthropy of Ted Jones, another Edward Jones executive, and his wife Pat, who in 1985 donated $2.2 million. This generous donation funded the purchase of the trail corridor and the development of its pilot sections, paving the way for what would become the longest developed rail-trail in the nation at 240 miles. In recognition of the foundational contributions of the Joneses, the Burkhardts have requested that the new welcome center be named the “Ted and Pat Jones Welcome Center at the Treloar Mercantile.”

Expansion and Engagement

David Kelly, the director of Missouri State Parks, expressed enthusiasm about the new facility: “We’re excited to have a presence on the Katy Trail with the new welcome center,” he stated. Initially, the center will operate with limited hours as the team works out the details concerning staffing, displays, and office space utilization. Future plans include expanding exhibits, introducing retail merchandise, and extending the center’s operational hours starting in 2025.

Missouri State Parks invites the public to a special open house event at the new center on National Trails Day, Saturday, June 1, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event will provide a sneak peek into the facility and its offerings. Additionally, the community is encouraged to participate in a meeting on Thursday, June 13, from 4 to 7 p.m. to discuss the welcome center’s ongoing development and influence on the community.

For more detailed information about Katy Trail State Park or the Missouri State Park system, visitors can call 573-449-7402 or visit mostateparks.com.

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