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Missouri Looks to Revive Route 66 Gas Stations

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- The state of Missouri is seeking to identify and clean up abandoned gas stations along the famed Route 66, also known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road, reports KWCH 12 Eyewitness News. It is in the process of tracking abandoned gas stations along the road's path through the Ozarks.

Volunteers are working to save the historic sites, too. "I like the old stuff. I think they're neat," said Chris Powell, a Route 66 fan who has repainted an old filling station in Springfield and would like to open a convenience store there. "I'd like to see some of this stuff brought back to the way it used to be," he told the news outlet.

Not far away, the Halltown Volunteer Firefighters tore down an old gas station along the route that had been used as a fire station. A new building on the site will serve as an office, meeting site and community center.

Environmental concerns are the primary barrier to redeveloping and reusing the old sites. Abandoned underground storage tanks could cause a costly cleanup if they leaked. However, Missouri wants to identify some of the old sites for possible cleanups and future redevelopment, according to the report.

The city of Springfield is also interested in revitalizing the abandoned stations and supporting individuals like Powell. "That's really the key: feeling that what they do is going to be built on, and not an island," Vern Morgan, principal planner for the city, told the KWCH.

Elsewhere in Missouri, Webb City cleaned and redeveloped one old site with support from the Environmental Protection Agency, converting it to a Route 66 Information Center.

Missouri currently has approximately $94,000 budgeted for the project, or enough to pay for two site cleanups.

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