City manager says Cape Girardeau 'thriving' in recession
Sunday, December 6, 2009
Reflecting on his first 157 days in office, Cape Girardeau city manager Scott Meyer said Friday morning that he's optimistic the city is doing well despite the current economic downturn.
"We're thriving instead of surviving," Meyer said. "Cape Girardeau is not participating in the recession."
Speaking at the monthly Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce First Friday Coffee, Meyer said during his time as city manager he's noticed several continued efforts to move the community forward. Among those is the implementation of the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri, or the DREAM Initiative.
First announced in 2006, the plan calls for major improvements through the city to include a downtown hotel, revitalizing Broadway, aquatic center and Fountain Street corridor. A recent aspect of the plan is a new parking lot in the downtown area, which was completed in September.
"The DREAM plan is no longer a plan," Meyer said. "It's turned to reality."
While the DREAM Initiative likely will help increase economic activity in the downtown area, Meyer said other areas of the community have experienced economic growth as well. Recent developments include construction of an $8.7 million Family Aquatic Center, part of $20 million authorized by voters in 2008 for park improvements. Scheduled to open by the summer, the center will have concession stands, slides and a lazy river ride.
Meyer also said Cape Air is proving to be a valuable air carrier. The company was awarded a two-year contract Oct. 22 to serve the city and landed its first plane at the Cape Girardeau Regional Airport on Nov. 8.
Meyer added that the city hopes its ongoing talks with four to five businesses will result in some of those companies relocating to the area. He did not specify which companies the city is talking to now.
"We must continue to push the envelope and grow," Meyer said. "It's a different world, and we have to be willing to change as technology does. We have to be flexible and make this economic environment work for you."
1333 N. Sprigg St., Cape Girardeau, MO