Blunt says DREAM initiative will have 'powerful impact' on Cape

Sunday, October 29, 2006

By SCOTT MOYERS

Southeast Missourian

Gov. Matt Blunt said Saturday that he will be watching Cape Girardeau closely over the next three years to watch the "very powerful impact" that being a DREAM Community will have.

"I'll be back many times," he said in front of a small crowd of visitors, state elected officials and local leaders with a strong downtown interest.

Blunt visited three of the 10 communities that are to be the first inducted into the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri Initiative, or DREAM.

DREAM is intended to give communities access and financial resources that typically are used by bigger cities, Blunt said.

"Communities like yours aren't able to as easily as a St. Louis or a Kansas City to get those resources," Blunt said. "We want to make sure that access is there."

DREAM, by design, is intended to help communities more efficiently and effectively engage in downtown redevelopment and revitalization efforts and attract new private investment. DREAM communities should have streamlined access to programs for infrastructure improvements, historic preservation, affordable housing, community services, business development and job creation. The initiative also offers exclusive training and seminars created to help all DREAM applicants learn more about how to access existing redevelopment programs and tools to revitalize Missouri's historic and diverse downtown, Blunt said.

Three government entities that will be closely working with DREAM communities are the Missouri Housing Development Commission, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the state's Department of Economic Development.

"The purpose is for all of us to get together, work shoulder to shoulder and make something wonderful happen," said Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder. "The seeds have been planted, and now they will grow for years and years."

Downtown organizers are excited by the project.

"It's a great opportunity for the downtown," said Terri Foley, a historic preservationist and consultant. "It will help to make resources available, especially to those that need it."

smoyers@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 137

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