East part of Cape is eyesore

Thursday, January 17, 2008

By Irene Stevens

I was a resident of Cape Girardeau for almost 40 years when I decided in 2003 to give Colorado a try. Since then I have enjoyed Colorado, but I plan to move back to Cape Girardeau next summer. However ... .

I drove through Cape Girardeau over the Christmas holiday and was appalled at the decay in the east part of town. Is it only the newer west part of town that deserves attention? Yes, there are a few lovely places close to the river -- the new River Campus area, the Presbyterian Church -- but there are also many places that are an eyesore. What does this tell visitors to Cape Girardeau?

Don't any of you drive down Broadway and notice all those empty, decaying storefronts? Haven't any of you driven through the Good Hope-Sprigg Street intersection lately? Do you think visitors don't notice these areas and make a judgment about the city?

I cannot believe there isn't something to be done. One businessman told me his out-of-town landlord did nothing when he reported a shutter had fallen off and that outdoor paint was chipping off, so he feels he must move west. Maybe there are similar stories involved with the other buildings that look ready to fall down. Many of the historical parts of the city are along the river. If a visitor would care enough to try to visit them, he/she would have to drive by some really unsightly places. And speaking of visitors: How do they find help? I finally learned the Convention and Visitors Bureau has been hidden away in the H&H building. That's really convenient for out-of-town guests.

One of my other holiday stops was Paducah, Ky. Now there's a town that has revitalized its downtown area and the art gallery area just off downtown. Surely Cape Girardeau could do as well.

Yes, I'll be moving back to Cape Girardeau within the next year, and you can be certain I'm not going to ignore this topic. It's a shame the way the east part of town has deteriorated, and it would appear that no one is trying to change that tide. Am I wrong?

Irene Stevens resides in Evergreen, Colo.

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