I would like to take the next three weeks to highlight the counties of the 51st District. I will begin with my home county, Pettis. District 51 has three municipalities, Houstonia, Hughesville, and La Monte. However, the district begins at the city limits of Sedalia, the largest city of Pettis County. Founded in 1857, Sedalia is a product of the railroad. The Katy Railroad made Sedalia a two railroad town. The Katy's repair and maintenance yards, administrative offices, and hospital made Sedalia - already one of the larger towns on the railroad - a major point in the Katy system. Built in 1896, crews working at the Katy Depot served the rails until 1958. In 1979 the Katy Depot was the first Sedalia landmark to be placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
After a $3 million restoration, the Katy Depot is a partnership between the Missouri Division of State Parks (DSP) and the Sedalia Heritage Foundation (SHF). The SHF manages day to day administration and operation working to maintain the historic integrity of the site, interpreting the Sedalia Katy Railroad Complex and sharing stories relative to the impact the railroad had and still has upon the community.
The Depot has been designated as Sedalia's Welcome Center. It serves as a major feature of the Katy Trail State Park, and the starting point of Sedalia's Heritage Trail. The Katy Depot also houses Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce offices. Guided tours are available by appointment. The Gift Store offers Katy Trail souvenirs, Missouri food items, local interest books, and of course, gifts. You may learn more at www.katydepotsedalia.com. NOTES: This week the Interim Committee on Emerging Agricultural Issues met in Springfield. The committee heard from several dairy farmers from the southern region who are feeling the squeeze of lower milk prices and higher feed and fuel costs. The committee met last week, touring farms near Harrisonville. The committee will meet one more time before session to listen to farmers and consider ways to strengthen Missouri's number one industry. I also had the honor of accompanying House Speaker Tim Jones and other representatives, including Denny Hoskins and Stanley Cox, in a tour of the Tyson plant in Dresden. Congratulations to the plant personnel who will be honored for 20 years of continuous operation at the Pettis County Economic Development recognition dinner this evening.