Cape council faces airport decision, public hearing tonight

Monday, March 5, 2007

Cape Girardeau City Council has a busy night ahead with both tax breaks and flight service on the agenda for Monday's 7 p.m. meeting.

Council members will vote to endorse or change recommendations from the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport Advisory Board on which carrier the Department of Transportation should select to provide air service out of Cape Girardeau.

The front-runners to receive the council's endorsement are Big Sky Airlines which proposes flights to Delta Air Line's hub of Cincinnati. The other top contender is Great Lakes Airlines which submitted the lowest bid to continue air service to St. Louis. Great Lake's bid is about $200,000 less than current provider RegionsAir was paid for the expiring two-year contract and about $133,000 less than Big Sky's lowest proposal to Cincinnati.

Also scheduled is a public hearing regarding a proposal to give tax breaks to the owner of Town Plaza to help redevelop the old Sears building. The 65,000-square-foot structure is the future home of National Asset Recovery Service.

The plan is proposed by Greater Missouri Builders, the company that owns Town Plaza. Mayor Jay Knudtson has publicly supported it. The tax breaks include a mandatory one-percent additional sales tax for all merchants inside Town Plaza. The collected money would principally go toward improvements to the NARS building.

Merchants and interested residents are invited to comment on the proposal during the hearing.

Check out Tuesday's Southeast Missourian for updates on both issues.

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