In 1957, a few businessmen on Highway 50, in Jefferson City, joined together to oppose the development of a trailer court in what was to become a major business area. At that time, Highway 50 West was actually an extension of West Dunklin Street, which was renamed Missouri Boulevard, at the request of the association. At the time of its formation, the association was promoting the paving of curbs and other street improvements within the area. Thus, the organization began to grow and take a very active role in the planning and development of the city’s west side. In fact, the name was changed from Highway 50 Association to West Side Business Association in 1959, and a large area was outlined, to be encompassed by the association.
A constitution was enacted to formalize the organization with a slate of officers and a board of directors. While the original document has undergone a few changes over the years, the goals have not changed. They are still spelled out in the opening paragraphs of the constitution:
“The object and purpose of this association is: To promote economic, civic and general welfare of the people in Jefferson City, MO, but more particularly those residing or doing business or owning real estate in the west side of the city. Further “This association so far as reasonable, possible and practical, shall cooperate with other agencies designed to promote the general welfare of the city as a whole.”
Its membership is open to “all persons, associations, partnerships and estates residing, doing business, or owning real estate” within the west side of the city.
The object and purpose is the same today with many projects have been promoted and completed during the past 5 decades.
The West Side Business Association works closely with the Chamber of Commerce and City and State Government to monitor and advise on any projects that affect the area.
In 1973, a Study Task Force was formed consisting of West Side members, City Officials and Housing Authority to formulate a long-range plan of street and building development.
Several months were spent in preparing the plan. After completion, it was submitted and accepted with some modifications, by the City Council. During the intervening years, many of the proposals have been implemented. The largest and most noticeable was the widening of Missouri Boulevard. However, many other street improvements have been made, including some new streets that were in the original proposal. Also, some improvements, such as the widening and railroad crossing at the intersection of Industrial and Dix Road was promoted by the Association.
Another large project was and remains the impact of Wears Creek on the west side. The association has been involved by representation and drafting the original environmental statement prepared by the Army Corps of Engineers in 1974. As the area develops, the Association will continue to voice its opinions and make suggestions for the good of the west side and Jefferson City.
Two major events are held each year by the association for the membership and employees of members. The first event is an annual bar-b-que, held in late summer, usually early September. This is an informal affair and again employers are urged to send their employees and families. An evening of good food and fun including a silent auction is held with items donated by West Side Businesses to support our Scholarship fund.
The second event occurs in December when a holiday reception and installation of officers for the forthcoming year is held. These are always well attended and give the membership an opportunity to meet and get to know the officers who represent them.