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

Sunday, May 9, 2010
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.



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