Old Town Cape gives itself, district good report card for 2006

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The group determined it has been a good steward of public funds.

Old Town Cape, the not-for-profit group charged with championing downtown causes, gave itself and its district a good report card this week.

Presented at Tuesday night's Cape Girardeau City Council session, the report showed a downtown area attracting more jobs and businesses than it loses.

"We're really proud of this report card. We think it's a very positive report," Old Town Cape director Marla Mills said Monday.

By tallying public and private building improvements, property sold and new buildings and additions, Old Town Cape determined it has been a good steward of public funds. For every $1 the city invests in Old Town Cape, Cape Girardeau sees $431.25 reinvested in the district, according to the report.

In 2006, Cape Girardeau funded the organization with $20,000. Citing a positive report from the previous year, the group asked for double that funding last spring and was turned down.

In 2006, Old Town Cape cited a net gain of 21 businesses and 65 new jobs in the 130-block downtown district.

Additionally, Old Town Cape cited seven new buildings and additions in the area and 28 building renovations. Overall, there was an $8.63 million public and private reinvestment in the district.

Leaders also touted 3,438 hours of volunteer time. Much of the volunteer hours occur at events like Libertyfest, Tunes at Twilight, the Christmas Open House and the Holiday of Lights parade, which Old Town Cape organizes annually.

Mayor Jay Knudtson applauded the group. "We're certainly a lot farther along than we once were," he said of downtown.

tgreaney@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 245

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