Letter to the Editor

Cape too late on historic options

Monday, January 26, 2009

Whither now "historic" Cape Girardeau? Grind your gears toward the future? Smooth out the human bumps? Or lurk in stasis until you can salvage your bric-a-brac for the bed-and-breakfast set? Shame on you, Cape Girardeau, for coming to the party far too late. What about the treasures you could have salvaged but didn't?

I worked in downtown Cape Girardeau. I lived downtown. I owned a home that is now an art gallery. And I witnessed the destruction of the once vibrant Main-and-Broadway district while the community wizards of wisdom wizened commerce to the west side.

I saw J.C. Penney's leave, Sears slink sunward, Otasco fold, Woolworth collapse and Ward's die.

I have lived in St. Charles with its wonderful historic district. I have lived in Washington, Mo., with its nearly intact, vibrant, heritage-focused downtown. And, for nearly a decade, I lived just a few miles south of Hermann, Mo., one of the most historic sites in Missouri -- a community that long ago embraced a heritage that Cape Girardeau, if it had chosen, could have also rightfully claimed.

Shame on you, Cape Girardeau. Shame on you for pretending that you care. Otherwise I would applaud your arrogance.

STEVEN C. PARSONS, Marble Hill, Mo.