Planning and Zoning gets update on DREAM

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Planning and Zoning commissioners received an update on the DREAM Initiative for downtown revitalization and green-lighted several zoning requests Wednesday. With the new zoning one developer says he will bring a Meineke Muffler shop to Cape Girardeau.

Representatives from Old Town Cape, city hall and the Chamber of Commerce said over the next three years the state program DREAM, which stands for Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri, will kick-start development in three historic areas: the Broadway corridor, the Haarig district and the riverfront.

The program, they said, gives cities like Cape Girardeau access to state know-how to create a "strategic plan" for redevelopment. DREAM then moves the designated city to the front of the line for state grant money.

Cape Girardeau and nine other cities will keep the designation for three years and be asked to pay only 20 percent of the estimated $250,000 of planning work it receives.

"It's an amazing amount of work we're going to be able to do for a very low cost," said Tim Arbeiter, Chamber of Commerce vice president of community development.

One commissioner, though, worried that this would turn into yet another plan that doesn't come to fruition.

"It seems to always be in the planning stage," said commissioner Harry Rediger. "From the outside it seems fragmented. We have a plan here and a plan somewhere else, but it's not all tied together."

But assistant to the city manager Heather Brooks said past plans will be folded into the process. She also pointed to DREAM's building and infrastructure survey as evidence of "more tangible results."

"They're going to look at square footage, sidewalks, parking, zoning," she said. "They'll say your sidewalks aren't good in this area or you have vacant buildings in this area, and that will be very specific information."

Another commissioner worried the DREAM work would step on the toes of work being done by Arcturis, an architectural design firm, to revise Cape's comprehensive plan.

"I'm left with the impression that we paid this money to Arcturis and they're doing footwork for DREAM. Is Arcturis subordinate to DREAM?" asked commissioner Bill Hinckley.

No, said Brooks. DREAM will pick up where Arcturis leaves off, focusing on things like hours of operation, needed retail or parking which make up the nuts and bolts of downtown.

In zoning action, the commission approved the request of DLJ Cape represented to rezone a plot of land adjacent to McAllister's Deli on Mount Auburn Road to C-2 general commercial. The company was represented by Randy Lamotte of Ste. Genevieve.

Previously the land was bisected by a line zoning part C-4 planned commercial and the remainder C-2. Lamotte said his corporation plans to build a Meineke on the southern part of the land that he hopes will open in early 2008.

The north side of the plot could be sold to someone wanting to open a restaurant or similarly sized business, he said.

335-6611, extension 245

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