River Center Charrette Results

On March 19, 2022, volunteers, partners and stakeholders with Missouri River Relief gathered for a day of brainstorming on what a Missouri River Center could be and what elements it should incorporate in its design and programming. This happened before the Huntsdale property was donated to The Nature Conservancy of Missouri and before we realized we would have an opportunity to work with TNC at a specific location on a similar dream.

Facilitator Joe Engeln compiled the results from this session into the following lists. We still welcome additional ideas (you can email Steve with your thoughts). While some similar ideas have been combined, all effort is made to capture and keep all ideas generated in this process. We will definitely be using this data and these great visions as we move forward on planning!

Click the category title to jump down to that specific topic on this page:

Building ProgramsMultipurpose SpaceOffice SpaceGrounds

Non-Office Storage SpacePartnerships





  • Integrate building with natural site
  • Parking to accommodate buses - large vehicle, ease of turn-around
  • Permeable surfaces to reduce run-off
  • River view
  • Plan for future expansion
  • Katfish Katy’s, Coopers, Jeff City?
  • Viewing tower/sky bridge between building
  • % of minority/gender representation in construction
  • Flood resiliency - pick a number higher than ’93 flood and build to that


  • Permanent facility
  • Accessibility - No steps, if possible
  • Stilts with boat storage below
  • Bird Friendly
  • Zero-light pollution (Dark Skies recommendations)
  • Wrap-around porch - Deck, Retractable awning
  • Low-impact building - Net zero carbon, water collection, cistern. LEED
  • Reusable materials, local sourcing, donated - Wood, Concrete, Stone, Trash, Sustainable
  • materials
  • Wellness and health integration – Lighting, acoustics, air quality, Sound engineering,
  • Daylighting, Skylights, Windows
  • Active/Passive solar and wind power
  • Radiant heating
  • Green Roofing/edible walls
  • Korean/Japanese joinery
  • Exemplary design with educational component
  • Restrooms/Showers - Gender neutral, changing station, family bathrooms
  • 150 child minimum capacity
  • Multi-generational, interactive learning - History, Ecology, MRR history and mission,
  • culture, Hands-on design, interactive, signage)
  • Resources more focused on functionality than flair
  • Recycle existing structures rather than building new
  • Grants to fund exemplary construction (LEED)
  • Long-term planning -pursue as we can (keep plan flexible)
  • Existing public space = catalog its history, Appreciate the wealth of the area
  • Do not gloss over how the area came to be and the pain the Indigenous peoples endured (communicate with the Osage people and provide special access; Show the whole history from then to now)


  • Electric car charging station
  • Outdoor picnic space
  • Library - Reading room, river-found books
  • Mud room entrance to facilitate cleaning equipment and people
  • Extremely large fish tank
  • Community space for art - Humanities-focused, revolving topics, murals of local interest
  • Locally crafted décor/river-themed art, Bryan Haynes – specializes in the MO River
  • Showcase of collected items – trash museum, Ball Wall
  • Flood index gauge
  • Mural of river profile
  • Indigenous peoples displays and land acknowledgment, Art and history of the Osage people
  • Massive Blue Heron statue/stained glass
  • Mobile of flying creatures - Crane origami
  • Apartments and dorms with communal facilities - Americorps housing
  • Residential spaces for camps/staff/teachers
  • Kitchen/Food prep/Beverages/Catering/Cafeteria - Measuring food waste through O.R.T program, Frozen yogurt machine/popcorn machine, Ice machine
  • Information Center/Front desk
  • Gift merchandise shop, Merch sales/concessions during peak visit periods
  • AV/tech/IT room
  • Donors featured in creative way
  • Maximum flexibility with space
  • Water features
  • Shading
  • Hammocks
  • Walk-though exhibit
  • Teaching on the floor – learning displays of Mo River and its tributaries
    • Focus on Boone CO.
  • Series of maps, Boone CO, MO, Nation
  • Show tributaries individuals live near
  • TNM program – interactive maps by USGS
  • Antique pull-down display with overlay
  • Land management learning plot
    • More indigenous focused
  • Artifact display
  • On-going/interchanging exhibition space
    • Feature various groups
  • PFD for checkout
  • Connect to Katy Trail
  • Acknowledgment at entrance that this is a safe place and is open to everyone
    • Addressing our mission and land acknowledgment
  • Destination or touchpoint for paddlers doing the entire river
    • Place to document the trips of those who have done it
  • MR340 checkpoint (merch., etc.)




Audience -General

  • Education of pre-K to adult
  • Home schoolers/Independent school
  • Connection to tech and trade schools
  • Early childhood courses
  • Teen programs

Audience – Specific

  • Veterans’ programs
  • Teacher/professional development - Teacher escape weekend
  • Disabled programs
  • At-risk youth programs - Similar to Qaupaw in Clarksdale
  • Training urbanites about rural areas
  • Focus on including diverse populations - Cultural/ethnic
  • Partner programs
  • Follow-up to 4th grade program - Middle and high school

General Topics

  • Paddlers’ academy - Navigation, barges, night paddling, recreational boaters, river safety,
  • guided trips
  • Boat tours
  • Fishing - outreach/education; Catfish Tournament; fish fry
  • Clean-ups and trash
    • Annual, regularly scheduled, Trash audit/inventory/mapping
    • Practical trash reduction, Plastic pollution – everyday human impacts, Home port for travelling
    • river clean-up crew (mobile, active working with partners in different communities)
  • Gear repair/exchange - Waste reduction
  • Mo River basin - Geology, Natural history, Transportation and trade, Lewis and Clark,
    • Wildlife, Flora, Birds, Economic history [trapping, salt, transport, lumber],
  • Program about tributary stream, Human impacts on the Missouri River, Travelling river exhibit, River explore pack
  • Agriculture - Local food; history of agriculture
  • Interpretive signage
  • Day camp, Multi-day program, Summer camp, Overnight family programs, After school
  • Programs, MR 340 and Ground Crew Training, Deckhand boat training, Volunteer training and recruitment
  • River retreats
  • Advocacy/solutions workshops
  • Land acknowledgment in all programs
  • Virtual program options
  • Statewide programs
  • Accessible to all
  • “Hands to work” - student chores/pride in place
  • Wilderness medicine courses
  • Junior crew members
  • Camp-out clinics
  • Dinner on the river
  • River youth corps
  • Explorer Badge extension
  • Missouri River newsletter
  • Missouri River Network coordinator and communications
  • Visit sandbars to collect rocks from Mo River watershed - Watershed/sandbar map showing rocks’ origin, Winter sandbar walking trips
  • Public leisure
  • Meditation circles/yoga/thai chy/etc.
  • Childrens’ science museum
  • Accommodate informal music, jam sessions
  • Enclosed boat to extend season

Science Topics

  • Interactive demonstrations - H2O volume. force, scale, Freshwater on earth, Stream table (hydrology), 3-D map (trash, current/historic river)
  • Relevant science communication - Land/water interface and interactions, Astronomy, Evolution, edible plants, invasive species removal, water quality, Nature-based solutions (rain gardens, native plants, Bio Blitz, Catastrophic climate change, climate adaptation, Citizen science

Social/Art Topics

  • History, including Indigenous Peoples’ history, Historic interpretation
  • Music and stories (inspired by the river), Writing workshops, ESL/Spanish trainings
  • Children’s hands-on activities - Poetry, arts, crafts
  • Trash art
  • Artist retreat/artist in residence programs



Multi-purpose Spaces

  • Share space with like-minded organizations
  • Meeting space used by other groups (revenue generating?)
  • Indoor-outdoor educational facilities (pole barn/shelter)
  • Farmers’ market/winterized outdoor space - retractable roof, awning, open walls as needed
  • Performance space/stage - plays, music, Space large enough for speaker series
  • Accessible to all ages/ADA/diverse populations/welcoming
  • Visibility of physical facility, virtual explanation
  • Project room (technical)
  • Shop
  • Creative sponsor recognition
  • Accessible to recreational boaters, cyclists. trail users (not necessarily ramp/marina)
  • Nursery for native plants - Sales, planting on river, Greenhouse
  • Modular, incorporates green space (ala green magic homes, permanent modular) Moveable partitions, Event capability - Meeting/wedding/dinners
  • Facilitating local connections/community
  • Pest-free storage
  • Boat repair garage with heat/cooling



Office Space


  • Reservable meeting room space - Partner and other orgs, Large conference room, Visible conference room
  • Easily configured workspace
  • Lunch room, Kitchen - Ice machine, large fridge, microwave, Deep freeze, extra food storage
  • Individual space/private office space, Office doors for privacy
  • Natural light, Windows with a view - Everyone needs a window, Intentional blinds or sunshades for windows
  • Plants
  • Location relative to educational programs
  • Soundproofing
  • Preparations for remote work -Video, cameras, screens
  • Outline shared space for volunteers and other delegated work, Accommodation for volunteers helping out with tasks, (envelope stuffing. computer work, etc.)
  • Room for employee expansion
  • Mother’s room/private sitting area, Lounging space/decompress/leisure meeting area
  • Multiple restrooms
  • Library
  • Artist residence/studio/gallery
  • Office space for rent
  • Phone and mailbox system

Paper/Materials Storage

  • Labeled key storage - File cabinet space
  • Merchandise storage/packing/shipping - table for assembling mailing items
  • Paper goods storage (mail, print room and craft supplies)
  • Cleaning supplies closet
  • Room for office and display supplies storage
  • Educational supplies (arts and crafts) – walk-in storage, Prep space for ed. Programs
  • More than you think you will need
    • Offsite and digital for future, not just equipment
    • Paper documents for 7 years – include shredder


  • Robust IT network with adequate connections and storage, Connections and hook-ups,
  • Back-up of essential documents off-site (redundant), Smartboard or projector onto
  • Whiteboard, Floor outlets, Charging station with extra outlets, P.A. system


  • Washing machine/dryer
  • Diversity of workspaces
  • Murals
  • Photo wall/awards wall
  • Large table and workspace for projects and collaborations





  • Pavilion – presentations, public seating, meetings, programs, 4-season, removable walls, Covered, concrete floor, bug-proof screens, magnetic screens, Sun shades,
  • Picnic areas for families and children to eat lunches – covered, Outdoor restrooms and washing stations, rinse off stations
  • Amphitheater (garage doors) - Stories, music, speakers – hard of hearing accessible
  • Barge moored on bank – multi-use space/pavilion
  • Council house (Native American) 7-sided, hole in roof, (Osage or Cherokee equivalent)
  • Teepee – Meeting space, lodging, Earthen lodge
  • Lodging for travelers, Americorps, crew, staff, dorm areas for students/children (boy/girl); washer/dryer
  • Small vehicles to move around the grounds, Lawn care equipment in shed (plow attachment for winter)
  • Outdoor information kiosk
  • Outdoor Classroom
  • Tractor

Ramp Area

  • Canoe and other human powered access to the river
  • Trash receptacles at ramp
  • Boat bilge and gear cleaning sand trap (prevent contamination)
  • River access/boat ramp, Docks/Marina – boat storage
  • Life jacket paddock by loading zone
  • Trash/recycling area (tires, scrap metal, etc.) and composting area (dumpsters, recycling)
  • Canoe/Kayak racks with supplies nearby
    • Paddlers’ academy, rental or workshops
    • Covered kayak and canoe storage


  • Creative use of parking area when not used for parking, Permeable parking areas
  • (prevent run-off), Secure parking for staff and volunteers, Larger parking area for visitors and groups, Food truck area, Drive-through parking pots for trailers - efficiency
  • Composting
  • Space to capture renewable energy
  • Bike parking area, rental and repair station
  • Plumbing/Electrical for agriculture and drip lines
  • Fishing – outfitter, classes/training, river access, dock, Fish/dish/gear washing areas
  • Secured perimeter
  • Electric vehicle charging station
  • Community recycling center
  • Water bottle stations outdoors/water fountains
  • Outside/night lighting
  • Large murals on walls, fences, rain barrels


  • Scale model of MO River (historic and current), River flow simulator
  • Ex: Corps flow studies, River Walk in TN, Nelson Center in KC, 3-D stream table (watershed, dyes to show pollutants)
  • Interactive nature trails with signage
  • Bee hives, Bird houses/feeders, Native plant garden, River look-out with spotting scope,
  • Dugout canoe with tools used, Interpretive signage, Native bottomland forest and interpretive walk (ADA dirt trail, permeable eco-friendly construction), Water quality lab with teaching area, Wetlands (land use and water connection, soil demonstration, riparian corridor), Bamboo, butterfly garden
  • Native American gardens, plots, landscape interpretive signs and education components
  • Sculpture park
  • Toddler trash pick-up area with recycling examples – educational, Trash theme/nature
  • play areas
  • Missouri River-centric playground
  • Bird blinds and spotting scopes
  • White board to record animal sightings that day -Other nature journals
  • Sign post with mileage to river towns


  • Camping spaces (tent/small camper/vehicles)
    • Water and electric hook-ups; dump station; tent platforms
  • Outdoor fire pit with gathering area/seating; Hammocks/swings
  • Large enough to incorporate all aspects of nature and people together
    • Outdoor tables for students to do their work

Ecology of Site

  • Protection from development from the outside, Overlooking or near riverway, Bioswales for stormwater management, Field burning supplies, Access to multiple types of Ecosystems, Large shade structure outdoors, Sunflower field for Instagram,
  • Bird feeders, Plant trees now for future shade, Rainwater catchment/rain garden
  • Wetland and riparian forest restoration



Non-office Storage Space

  • Equipment storage outside of floodplain
  • Life jacket cleaning and storage
    • Rack with a hose/drying rack
  • Some type of railing to assist with entering and leaving boats
    • Extend 2-3 feet, on rollers? Staircase?
  • Enclosed storage to keep critters out/some climate-controlled
  • Wet sink – large sink with drainage
  • Ladders for storage racks
  • Easy mobile unit (not the box truck)
  • Clear labelling
  • Invasive species prevention (cleaning boats and equipment/tools for removal)
  • First Aid storage/AED
  • Severe weather area – with disaster prep materials
  • Pull-through bays for boat storage and repair, Climate-controlled area for boat and vehicle maintenance, Shaded area for vehicle and boat storage w/ storage for tools
  • Security (some boat storage near river and some out of floodplain)
  • Fuel safe storage – separate for gas tanks/ flammable cabinet
  • 1 bay with pallet racks for storage separate from the boats
  • Site visit to USGS/USFWS/MDC for boat storage ideas
  • Storage for items used for clean-ups and educational programs
  • “Clean” electronics room – charging abilities – tools batteries, etc.
  • Camping area for crew/volunteers from out of town
  • Facilities ADA compliant
  • Tools
  • Archives
  • Field support vehicle – tools, gas/fuel, repair items
  • Carts for item transport from storage to vehicle/room
  • Field trip launch storage




  • Library programs, book themes, libraries along the river
  • Diverse groups – Outdoor Afro, special access for tribes, Job Point, Black People Who Hike, local churches/organizations
  • Health care organizations – Nature RX, Custom food-scaping
  • Artists and art organizations (Art leagues, Access Arts, Ragtag, T/F)
  • Local news stations (TV, radio, KBIA, KOMU, KOPN, VOX, media, New Territory)
  • Parks and Recs sites along the river (Parks and Rec Programs)
  • Friends groups (Rockbridge, Arrow Rock, Big Muddy Refuge, Alpine Shop)
  • Solidify/strengthen partnerships for long-term viability
    • Funding/donor relationships, visibility
  • Continue to utilize others’ spaces to strengthen/build community
  • Invite and build Connections to native American peoples
  • Birding groups
  • Accessibility partners – physical, sensory
  • Adult Education, Osher, Roads scholars
  • Corporate/commercial businesses
  • The National River Research Center
  • Van Trust
  • School districts nearby (home schools and private schools)
  • River communities – (towns, paddler groups, land owners, boat ramps and boat clubs)
  • Not-for -profit organizations (Sporting, outdoor, Master naturalists, Sierra Club, MRBO,
  • Land trusts, River Keepers, TNC, Stream Teams, Trout Unlimited, Izaac Walton League, Catfish tournament, Audubon, Mo. Coalition for the Environment, quail, turkey, duck groups)
  • State and federal agencies (MDC, DNR, USFWS, ACOE, USGS, NPS, LCNHT)
  • Boy scouts, girl scouts, clubs, youth groups
  • Individuals – volunteer on on-going projects
  • Food and agricultural orgs. Systems, fishermen, CCUA, MOA
  • CPS Nature School
  • Geocachers, pokemon-go, gamers, explorers
  • Meet local river communities
    • Learn history, local buy-in
  • Prominent or outdoor-related local businesses along river
  • People with deep pockets
  • Leadership/influence groups. individuals. Rotary
  • Universities – CAFNR, Lincoln (Extension)Tech schools, Haskell U in Kansas
  • Mizzou Botanic Garden
  • Tribes – reach out now to Osage and Missouria, Sac & Fox, others.
  • Waste management partners
  • Casinos
  • MO river stakeholders – Travel/navigation, sand and gravel,
  • Levee and Drainage Districts, Drinking water systems
  • Humanities Council, State Historical Society, Environmental history
  • Land restoration groups, Grow Native, CISMA, NRCS
  • Individual stakeholders
  • Donors – your name on a brick, walkway or wall
  • Americorps
  • COMO Trail Association
  • Local farmers, include native edibles and native peoples’ garden
  • Bicycle/Katy Trail
  • Columbia Farmers Market – lots of community outreach

Ready for Action?

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