Old Town Cape seeks reservations, wins national designation

Monday, February 11, 2008

A part-timer at Old Town Cape has helped win a national designation for the city.

Cape Girardeau is now a Preserve America Community.

This White House program is supported by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and many other federal agencies. It requires communities to promote local history and culture through preservation efforts, tourism and education. Perks of being recognized include signs, flags and a bump up on tourism rosters, but the real benefit is a shot at grants ranging from $20,000 to $150,000. Marla Mills, Old Town Cape's executive director, said she expects to learn grant application deadlines any day now.

In 2007, nearly $5 million in matching grants were awarded.

Donnie Rodgers, a Cape Girardeau native and Drury University graduate, wrote Old Town Cape's application, which was filed just before the December deadline, Mills said.

An architecture major, Rodgers worked on the DREAM Initiative application as well during an Old Town Cape internship.

Rodgers' technical skills have been invaluable, Mills said. He coordinated a land-use survey.

"He can just do so much. He takes it to the next level on his own," she said.

Mills said she is prepping for two big events, while waiting for results of the DREAM survey conducted late last year.

On Feb. 19, she'll make Old Town Cape's annual report at the Cape Girardeau City Council meeting.

On Feb. 21, she's hoping to fill the River Campus for Old Town Cape's annual meeting. It's the time of year when awards are given, board officers change roles and the latest Christmas ornament is debuted.

Tickets cost $25 and include heavy hors d'oeuvres during the evening's social hour. For ticket reservations, call Old Town Cape at 334-8085 by Feb. 14.

Take note, state offices are closed Tuesday to observe Lincoln Day. The cities of Cape Girardeau and Jackson will close Feb. 18 for Presidents Day. Hence the city council meetings have been moved to Feb. 19. Cape Girardeau's study session starts at 5 p.m., followed by a 7 p.m. meeting; in Jackson, the meeting begins at 7:30 p.m. and is followed by a study session.

After the tragedy in Kirkwood, Mo., I checked Cape Girardeau City Council and Jackson Board of Aldermen agendas. Residents who want to speak up at either meeting have two opportunities. First, a public hearing is held for agenda items, followed by a comment period for items not on the agenda. In Cape Girardeau, speakers are limited to five minutes, "to try to foster a productive meeting," said Doug Leslie, Cape Girardeau's city manager. "We do try to listen to folks."

Curious about police work? Enrollment is open for the city of Cape Girardeau's Citizens' Police Academy. Training is from 6 to 8 p.m. starting Feb. 21 at police headquarters. Classes continue through April 3. Call Sgt. Barry Hovis at 335-6621, extension 1094 to register.

As Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee ended, Michelle Hahn, the city's public information coordinator, seemed to be making a fast exit. Why?

She pointed to her boots. Betty Martin, Cape Girardeau library director, didn't see it right away, so Hahn explained. She'd grabbed the footwear quickly that morning and got a mismatched pair.

"That's what I get for having six pairs of boots, all the same color," she joked before racing off.

Questions, suggestions or tips for Lost on Main Street? E-mail pmcnichol@semissourian.com or call 335-6611, extension 127

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