Old Town Cape seeks new director to recruit business

Thursday, July 22, 2004

Old Town Cape executive director Catherine Dunlap will leave the Cape Girardeau downtown redevelopment organization by year's end.

Board members said Wednesday they want a new director who will help the not-for-profit organization expand its redevelopment efforts. Tom Higgins, an accountant and vice president of the Old Town Cape board of directors, said the board wants to hire a director who can recruit new businesses to the downtown.

"We need to fill up the buildings we have right now," said Kent Zickfield, who owns and operates a downtown jewelry store and is involved in the Downtown Merchants Association. The association has worked on a number of projects with the Old Town Cape organization.

"We are getting past the start-up phase," he said.

Old Town Cape was formed in 1999. Dunlap was hired in November 2000 to get the program up and running.

Dunlap said she and the board mutually agreed to her departure. "This happens a lot in Main Street programs," she said, referring to downtown redevelopment efforts.

"I am good at the start-up stuff," Dunlap said. "I can help build partnerships. I can help get all the engines going."

Dunlap said she hopes to find a new job with a Main Street redevelopment program in a larger community.

Zickfield said Dunlap was good at organizing special events such as Tunes at Twilight concerts and the Fourth of July Libertyfest.

"This young lady has done an excellent job in what she was hired to do," he said. "But there comes a time for someone else to step up to the plate."

Dunlap said Old Town Cape needs a new director who understands the retail market, particularly business recruitment and retention.

The board also wants a director who has more expertise in securing funding for renovations of buildings, she said.

Dunlap said Old Town Cape has helped spark redevelopment efforts including work on the new Fountain Street entrance to downtown.

"We've made a name for ourselves," she said. "We've become a one-stop shop for information regarding the downtown."

A former newspaper reporter in Vincennes, Ind., Dunlap worked for the Illinois Main Street downtown redevelopment program before taking the Old Town Cape job.

mbliss@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 123

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