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Leadership Cape class of 2010 presents city improvement ideas at First Friday Coffee

Sunday, May 9, 2010

(Photo)
Alan Kridelbaugh leads his Leadership Cape team as they prepare to make a presentation on the benefits of having a Mardi Gras celebration in Cape Girardeau. The group performed at the First Friday Coffee of the Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce.
(MELISSA MILLER)
Members of the Leadership Cape class of 2010 shared their ideas to improve Cape Girardeau during today's Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce's First Friday Coffee.

Leadership Cape is designed to identify and motivate emerging community leaders. As part of the program, participants work in teams to develop community improvement projects.

Presentations were given by the 2010 Leadership Cape class, which was divided into four teams. They proposed the following projects: a community Mardi Gras celebration, a high school junior leadership program, an ice rink in Capaha Park and a passport booklet of area attractions.

A Mardi Gras celebration would celebrate Cape Girardeau's French heritage and give the local economy a $350,000 boost through visitor spending, said Alan Kridelbaugh, CPA, of Schott and Associates P.C. The event would include a parade and other family-oriented activities.

The Cape Junior Leadership program was the second project proposed. It would be incorporated as part of an existing Central High School class to help students prepare to be future community leaders, said Joyce Hunter, experiential learning coordinator at Southeast Missouri State University. The Junior Leadership program would include 12 one-hour sessions and two field trips.

The third project discussed was construction of an ice arena where the Capaha Park pool is. Having a competition-size arena with spectator seating could bring a minor-league hockey team as well as youth hockey and figure skating tournaments to Cape Girardeau. These events would bring more visitors to the area, said Justin Albright, vice president of NAB Automation Inc.

The final project presented was Passport Cape, a concept where visitors would receive a booklet with pages representing local attractions, hotels and restaurants, said Ashley Beggs, executive director of Big Brothers Big Sisters in Cape Girardeau. Visitors would receive a stamp when visiting each location and receive special discounts at participating merchants.

About 200 people attended the First Friday Coffee held at the Plaza Conference Center by Ray's. It was sponsored by Southeast Missouri Hospital and Withers Broadcasting.

mmiller@semissourian.com

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Expert on inhaleing to?

-- Posted by mynameismud on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 11:19 PM

Alan is a nice guy, but who is he kidding on the impact of a Mardi Gras celebration? Memphis to the south, St Louis to the north, there is no way $350K of impact for a parade/family activities for Mardi Gras. Family activities during Mardi Gras, that's a good one.

Hate being a one of the usual negative Nelly's around here, but c'mon.

-- Posted by quiksand on Fri, May 7, 2010, at 11:43 PM

This area needs a permanent economic boost, and that means manufacturing. Not gambling, not sports teams.

We need to be the place where the sports teams and gambling houses go to get what they need for their businesses.

-- Posted by redpen on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 7:11 AM

I appreciate the kind remarks quiksand. And Duncan, while I may look like a toad I don't believe I qualify as a toadie.

On the topic of economic impact of Mardi Gras to Cape, it is anybody's guess. However, one of the examples I use for economic impact was the city of New Roads, LA (population 5-6,000). This small community is 1 hour and 50 minutes nortwest of New Orleans (about the same distance between Cape and St. Louis). Even though they are close to New Orleans, their Mardi Gras events bring in $100,000+ to their community. Here is a link to their website:

http://www.newroadsmardigras.org/about

Mardi Gras in New Roads has put $1.5 million back into the community with family oriented events. They may be a good model for Cape's Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras is a community event usually put on by local Krewes (New Roads uses a different approach). We can have Mardi Gras in Cape and I believe it would have a positive economic impact. Every journey begins with the first step.

"If you think you can or you think you can't - you are right."

-- Posted by akridelbaugh on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 11:54 AM

The drunks ruined Riverfest. Imagine what they would do at a Mardi Gras celebration in Cape.

-- Posted by Yankee Station on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 5:01 PM

So...in 157 years, Cape will see a $350K impact? My great great great grandkids can't wait! One other problem with comparing a Mardi Gras celebration in La and Cape, the weather.

Just out of curiosity, what kind of impact did Riverfest produce? A warmer month festival that shuts down Main to foot traffic only sounds like a better idea. Alan, I agree, you have to start somewhere, but Mardi Gras doesn't make sense or dollars.

-- Posted by quiksand on Sat, May 8, 2010, at 9:49 PM

Interesting point, Quiksand, that seems to have been forgotten - Louisiana = warm weather during Mardi Gras; Missouri = cold, rain, sleet, ice.

Maybe we could have the celebration in the water park? Since it will sit idle 9 months out of the year, a parade down the drained lazy river could generate some excitement. Of course, if it was filled with water it might be more exciting in March or April. The worse thing that could happen is this Mardi Gras thing could be well attended. Imagine the impact on police, fire, our sorry parking situation and our crumbling streets.

Rather than an event for fat old people parading around in drag, let's look at the proposal that help prepare out young people for the future. The cost is low and potential high.

-- Posted by ParkerDaws on Mon, May 10, 2010, at 6:31 AM


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