The announcement last week that Old Town Cape and the Downtown Merchants Association have decided to join forces is a welcome one.
Old Town Cape is a redevelopment organization that, in addition to sponsoring and promoting downtown events, provides businesses and individuals with information about tax credits and has presented workshops on building codes and rehabbing old buildings. It has a resource library available to small businesses and is developing a database listing square footage and rents for the spaces available in the district.
Old Town Cape board president Dr. Steven Hoffman assures that the merger does not mean the organization has decided to emphasize commerce at the expense of its other considerations. Old Town Cape's adopted mission is "to recognize and promote the historic, cultural, social and economic development of Old Town Cape Girardeau, and to educate the community to the benefits of its preservation, through the involvement of the entire community." Hoffman is in charge of the historic preservation program at Southeast Missouri State University.
The merchants association will become a subcommittee of the Old Town Cape redevelopment organization. Written into the agreement is an escape clause that would allow the merchants to leave the organization after six years. They are assured of at least five seats on Old Town Cape's 16-member board.
We are anxious to see what this infusion of energy and talent can do.