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Missouri’s Senate leader optimistic about funding for Wooldridge

Missouri’s Senate leader optimistic about funding for Wooldridge

The massive October 22, 2022 blaze in rural Wooldridge burned about 3,000 acres (file photo from 939 the Eagle listener Stephen McBee)

Missouri’s Senate President Pro Tem has met with Governor Mike Parson’s chief of staff to discuss possible state assistance for fire-damaged Wooldridge.

State Sen. Caleb Rowden (R-Columbia) is optimistic. The October blaze destroyed at least 23 structures in Wooldridge, damaging at least 3,000 acres of land in the rural Cooper County village.

“You know, kind of the ongoing trying to figure out ways to plug in resources that are available when it makes sense and where it makes sense,” Rowden says.

There were no fatalities nor serious injuries in the October fire, a point both Governor Mike Parson and Senator Rowden have emphasized. Pro Tem Rowden joined the governor and State Rep. Tim Taylor (R-Speed) during a late October tour of Wooldridge. Smoke permeated the air that day.

Senate President Pro Tem Rowden tells 939 the Eagle’s “Randy Tobler show” that he discussed Wooldridge this month with Governor Mike Parson’s chief of staff, Aaron Willard.

“You know part of it is just an uncertainty at this point as to exactly in some cases what the need is, who’s going to rebuild who’s not. You know, how you tap into dollars for that purpose. You know there’s community-wide dollars potentially available for certain types of kind of revitalization,” Rowden says.

Senator Rowden says part of the struggle is fully understanding what Wooldridge residents want the community to look like. Rowden says Wooldridge residents are resilient.