JEFFERSON CITY - Gov. Jay Nixon took a handful of Missouri lawmakers and reporters on a tour of the muddy, stalactite infested basement of the state Capitol to show what repairs need to be made to the nearing century old building.
A tour guide led the group to dark and dank areas of the basement which caused all in attendance to leave with mud caked onto their shoes, the governor included. These rooms also had stalactites covering the ceiling, as if they had been grown to serve as wallpaper.
The mud and stalactites are caused by water infiltrating into the building. The money for the repairs to stop the growth of stalactites would come from the issuance of a proposed bond.
It was the first time since Nixon became governor that he had been in the side of the Capitol basement that is overrun with stalactites.
After the tour the governor and the lawmakers held a press conference to further explain their want of issuing a bond for the repairs. Nixon said he wants to have a bond issued because he sees the Capitol as an iconic building in need of repair and renovations for the more than 430,000 Missouri residents who visit each year.
"We look forward to working with the legislature to frame that out," Nixon said.
Incoming Budget Committee Chair Tom Flanigan, R-Jasper County, House Democratic Leader Jacob Hummel, St. Louis City, Senate Majority Leader Ron Richard, R-Butler County, Senator Democratic Leader Joe Keaveny, St. Louis City, and Senator Mike Kehoe, R-Cole County, accompanied Nixon on the tour.
"This is the people's building," said Kehoe. "And if there is anything we can pass onto generations to come...it is this building...This is not a partisan issue."
Governor Nixon said repairs are likely to cost between $40 million-75 million. Nixon hopes to have the funding approved during the upcoming session.