Silver Rails Resort backers celebrate opening of event
center, Amtrak museum
By GREGORY OREAR, Managing Editor
|Silver Rails Resort
investors Ray Burns, Steve Grande, Barbara Cepinko,
Shivam Surve, Kelly Marshall and Tom Marshall cut a
celebratory cake at a gala Saturday night. In addition
to the sold-out gala, ribbon cutting ceremonies took
place Saturday at the Event Center and Amtrak Historical
Museum. (NEMO_Photography) |
LA PLATA, Mo. - A pair of ribbon cuttings and a grand
opening gala inducted the next phase of a $250 million resort
in La Plata Saturday.
Nearly 500 people attended the
sold-out gala at the Silver Rails Event Center, which opened
with a ribbon-cutting earlier in the afternoon.
think this is a remarkable event," La Plata Mayor Tom Herron
said at the gala. "To see what was accomplished in about 90
days is amazing. You should have seen it before."
addition to the event center, which will be available for
private events and public ones such as Sunday's bridal fair,
the Amtrak Museum also opened with a ribbon cutting Saturday
"I know what this community has done to
improve this depot and it has come a long way," Amtrak
representative Ann McGinnis said. "There is a lot happening
here and I think this is gong to have a positive effect on
this economy. I'm really happy for this community and I think
this community has a lot to be looking forward to as tourism
is going to be booming here."
Both the Amtrak Museum,
which is located inside two donated Amtrak rail cars, and the
event center are part of a bigger project that, according to
organizers, will eventually include a 300-room resort, indoor
water park, and an amphitheatre.
"Tom and Kelly
Marshall have done everything they said they would do," Sen.
William Stauffer, R-Popular Bluff said. "We are here at the
birth of something that is really going to change north
Tom Marshall, the owner of Depot Inn and
Suites which opened in 2006, and one of the project's primary
investors and organizers, said the railroad is only one facet
of the resort.
"Everything needs a good foundation to build on, whether
it's your home or a project like this," Marshall said. "We are
in one of the richest historical regions in the country. We
have a region that if we all work together as a region, we can
accomplish a lot."
Missouri Tourism Director Blaine
Leutkemeyer said with the historical aspect factored in, the
project is headed down the right track.
"You try to
find a niche, whether it is heritage related or amusement, and
we have both blended together here," he said. "You have to
market more than just yourself and your particular
destination. This is a concept Tom has realized from the
Designer Barry Howard presented a video
conceptual tour of the project, which features a narrow-gauge
traing running through out the 10-station
Howard, who has designed numerous large-scale
projects, was not onboard initially.
"When I first came
here to La Plata, I was admittedly skeptical," Howard said.
"But I have become transformed by the people out here. This
place, and the people in it, are authentic."
plans in place, Marshall is now securing additional investors,
and projects construction to start sometime this year. If all
investors are in place at the start of construction, the
resort is expected to be completed in three