Cape to pursue Victorian lights for downtown

Monday, May 16, 2005

The city of Cape Girardeau and Old Town Cape want to apply for federal grant money to beautify the downtown with Victorian-style street lights and renovations to building facades.

The city council will consider resolutions tonight authorizing city staff to apply for the money from the Missouri Department of Transportation. Funding could be made available later this year, downtown redevelopment official Tim Arbeiter said.

The lighting project is estimated to cost $35,000. The grant would pay $28,000 while Old Town Cape would pay the local share of $7,000, including in-kind contributions, officials said.

If funded, the project would extend the old-fashioned-style street lights on Main Street south to William Street, west on William to Spanish Street and then south to Morgan Oak Street, said Arbeiter, who is executive director of Old Town Cape.

He said the lights will closely match those already in place in the downtown.

Old Town Cape wants to extend the lights down Spanish Street to Southeast Missouri State University's River Campus arts school that's being developed on Morgan Oak Street. Arbeiter said he expects visitors will walk down that section of Spanish Street with its historic homes.

The facade project is expected to cost about $25,000. The city is looking to apply for $20,000 in federal grant money. Old Town Cape would provide the $5,000 local match, city officials said.

Arbeiter said Old Town Cape wants to use the money to award small grants to downtown property owners who want to renovate the facades of their buildings.

The renovation work would have to be in keeping with historic preservation of the downtown area, he said.

Old Town Cape plans to create a review committee to consider funding requests. The committee would include Arbeiter, a representative of the city, a representative of the Downtown Redevelopment Corp., two members of the Old Town Cape design committee and two members of the Old Town Cape economic development committee.

The small grants would be available to downtown property owners in amounts ranging from $100 to $2,500. A recipient would have to contribute at least an equal amount of money to get a matching grant, officials said.

335-6611, extension 123

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