Business development news

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Bernie council approves City Park improvements

BERNIE, Mo. — The Bernie Board of Aldermen has approved the purchase of materials to install a new electrical system at the Bernie City Park at a cost of $1,960.04. Alderman Ivan Mekan told board members that he had priced materials to upgrade an electrical box, run a new aluminum wire main and install new electrical outlets at the Bernie City Park. The item was discussed at a previous meeting. He said the current wiring was inadequate and pointed to problems with activities held there, including the annual Fall Fest. Alderman Larry Boyle made a motion to approve the material and it was approved by a 6-0 vote with all aldermen present.

Dexter hangar project completed

DEXTER, Mo. — Construction of new hangars at the Dexter Municipal Airport is complete, with the exception of some textured sealer on the floors which will require warmer weather. The project included the demolition of an old hangar that was destroyed by a tornado in the spring of 2008, and construction of a new nine-bay T-hangar. Each hangar has electronic doors, an upgrade from the past. The total cost of the project was $475,757. The construction contract was awarded to C.A. Walker Construction of Dexter for $437,000.

The city also paid for demolition of the old hangar, removal of the old concrete foundation and site preparation. The total amount of the project also included engineering fees to Waters Engineering, Inc. of Sikeston. Funding came from the Missouri Department of Transportation aviation division, according to city administrator Mark Stidham.

Cape Drury hotel on hold

The planned Drury Inn and Suites at the corner of Highway 74 and Mount Auburn Road in Cape Girardeau is still planned, but is currently on hold, says spokesman Eric Strand. The project is pending a pick-up in demand in the Cape Girardeau market.

Housing Authority funds help clean up Sikeston

SIKESTON, Mo. — The Sikeston Housing Authority board has presented a donation of almost $100,000 to the Land Clearance Redevelopment Authority.

"It's right at $98,000," said Bill Mitchell, chairman of the Housing Authority's board. "This is money that we over the years have been able to accumulate due to the sound financial management that the Housing Authority has been operated under." This donation is the second — both about the same amount — made to the LCRA to help remove dilapidated properties in the city.

In addition to providing the LCRA with funding, the Housing Authority has addressed crime around the city's public housing with the initiation of the COPS program and by funding four full-time Sikeston Department of Public Safety officer salaries and two patrol vehicles dedicated to public housing areas.

Federal funds to provide senior housing

WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Kit Bond has announced nearly $16 million in federal funds to help provide supportive housing for Missouri's elderly and disabled.

Missouri will receive $15,876,900 as part of Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)'s Section 811 Supportive Housing for Persons with Disabilities Program and Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly Program. The HUD Section 811 program provides funds to nonprofit organizations to develop rental housing with supportive services for very low-income adults with disabilities, and provides rent subsidies for the projects to help make them affordable.

The new funds will support projects throughout the state, including $1,064,200 for the Family Counseling Center, Inc., of Poplar Bluff to construct an Independent Living Project that will consist of nine one-bedroom units for very low-income and chronically mentally ill residents.

New WIC building planned

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. — The Butler County WIC program for women, infants and children plans to build a new facility in Poplar Bluff. The Dille and Traxel architectural firm in Poplar Bluff was awarded the contract to design the new buidling.

"WIC had 1,380 clients a month in the fall of 2005. Now we have over a record 2,000 clients a month," said Robert Hudson, administrator of the Butler County Health Department. "In the interest of customer service, we need to increase our capacity." He and the Butler County Board of Health have been working on the plan for several months and plan to demolish the building on Main Street and build a new, two-story structure in its place. WIC will be on the top floor, and the lower level will be used for records storage and the mosquito trapping program.

"We will have more lobby space and more examination rooms for the WIC program," Hudson said. "We will have the space to expand to a potential caseload of 2,200-2,300." He expects the economic downturn will result in "even more clients." The department also provides women's health services and recently added two staff members to provide HIV prevention and care programs.

The health department moved into its current building in 1998 and has been setting aside funds to expand, said Hudson. It employs 48 full-time workers and 120 homemakers in the home service program.

Rural Development offers help for homeowners

The U.S Department of Agriculture, Rural Development, has low-interest loans to help low-income households with home repairs. These loans are available to all low-income residents in Southeast Missouri and can be used for such things as roof repairs, heating and air-conditioning repairs or improvements, siding, windows and handicapped accessibility. The money is available through the Section 504 Rural Development loan program. Qualified homeowners can borrow up to $20,000 at one percent interest for a period of up to 20 years under the program, according to Becky Eftink, Rural Development area specialist at the Dexter Area Office.

To be eligible, homeowners must have an income level below 50 percent of the area's median income. Eftink also says the individual or family applying for the loan must own the home and provide collateral. They cannot obtain financing on rental property. The low interest loan can be obtained on a mobile home if the person or family owns the mobile home and the property on which it sits.

For more information about the loans and to apply for a Section 504 loan in Stoddard or Scott County, contact Whitney Watts or Gina Ridland at (573) 624-5939, ext. 4 or visit

Jaycee Golf Course to see renovations

The 18-hole, 54-year-old Cape Jaycee Municipal Golf Course will see a $1.5 million renovation this year. The 130-acre transformation will enlarge and change its greens to bentgrass and add a high-tech irrigation system. Other changes will include rerouting five holes on the back and adding sand bunkers.

The project, which will shut down the course for about 10 months, is being funded by a three-eighth-cent sales tax approved by voters last April. The renovation, one of several projects funded by the tax, will begin June 10, with a target completion in May 2010. According to Dan Muser, director of Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation, construction will start on the back nine, and golfers might be able to play the front nine through July 1.

Arthur Schaupeter Golf Course Architects in St. Louis was hired in October to create a master plan. Schaupeter has been in the course-architect business since 1992, with experience in more than 30 redesigns and 24 new constructions.

Course superintendent Randy Lueder and his crew have begun the removal of trees to accommodate the renovation. Forty-two new golf carts have been purchased for a fleet of 67, and new mowing equipment will arrive soon.

SEMO breaks ground for autism center

On Jan. 23, about 75 people gathered at the old Washington School in Cape Girardeau to celebrate the groundbreaking of the Southeast Missouri State University Autism Center for Diagnosis and Treatment.

The 11,582-square-foot center will be built on the grassy area next to the school, at the corner of Middle and Mill streets in Cape Girardeau. It will house several therapy rooms with observation capabilities for family members, clinicians and students. Many of the rooms are designed for music therapy, occupational therapy and life-skills training. Four institutions have collaborated to provide services at the center: the university, Judevine Center for Autism-Southeast Project, The Tailor Institute and The Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders at the University of Missouri at Columbia.

The estimated cost of the center is $2.6 million. Funding will come for the Lewis and Clark Discovery Initiative. An additional $494,000 in operating and startup funds for the center has been allocated for fiscal year 2009, which starts July 1, through the Department of Mental Health.

Orgill SuperCenter begins construction

SIKESTON, Mo. — The walls for the new Orgill Mid-America SuperCenter began rising in early January at the Sikeston Business, Education and Technology Park. Approximately 60 workers are on the building site daily in an effort to complete construction of the distribution center for Orgill, said Pat Cregan, building site superintendent.

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