Cape Girardeau City Council to meet with casino companies July 8

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Cape Girardeau City Council members compared calendars early in their work session Monday at city hall in order to set a new date to meet with development companies interested in building a casino in the city.

Council members will invite all the companies interested in competing for the city's endorsement to a 6 p.m. meeting July 8.

The Missouri Gaming Commission has requested economic assessment questionnaires be submitted by casino developers by July 15.

Cape Girardeau Mayor Harry Rediger, with input from council members, thought 30-minute presentations by each company would be best, each followed by a 15-minute council question-and-answer session. To accommodate all who want to attend, the council plans to hold the meeting at the Osage Community Centre.

Although he expects three entities to attend the meeting, Rediger said he wouldn't be surprised if more companies attend and present their ideas for a casino.

"Everything's wide open." he said. "I think in this ballgame anything could happen."

St. Louis Capital Partners LLC and Unbridled Entertainment Inc. are the only two companies who have publicly expressed their interest in Cape Girardeau. The third has been identified only as a St. Louis-area casino company that operates establishments in six states.

Cape Girardeau is one of at least five cities in Missouri competing for the state's 13th and final casino license to be awarded by the Missouri Gaming Commission later this year.

Based on conversations he said he has had with some developers, city manager Scott Meyer said the ones who are interested in Cape Girardeau are eager to present their plans to the council.

"We encourage them to come forward and put some reality to this discussion that so far has been a dream or a vision," Meyer said.

Cape Girardeau County resident Pat Wissman approached the council and spoke in support of a casino. It would help businesses, schools and the quality of life in Cape Girardeau, he said.

"The citizens ... we want to get out and enjoy life," Wissman said. "If you work together, this casino could benefit Cape immensely."

In other business:

* Public Works director Tim Gramling reported to the council that more residents in Cape Girardeau are recycling. Gramling said there's been a 50-60 percent increase in participants and a 73 percent increase in collections since May 2009.

* Rediger asked Cape Girardeau Parks and Recreation director Dan Muser to report on Cape Splash's attendance since opening day, which was May 29. Muser said more than 12,000 people have visited the park and he's heard many positive comments.

"It's a great new place not only for our citizens but also for visitors to our community," Rediger said.

When asked by council member Meg Davis Proffer to provide tips to the public, Muser said anyone is allowed to bring their own chairs to the park. Food, other than what can be purchased at the park's concession, is not allowed.

* The council voted 5-2 to seek funding through a Community Development Block Grant for exterior renovations to a historic property at 635-637 Broadway.

"We think it's a great example of a public and private partnership that could really change that street. It could result in saving the building," said Marla Mills, director of Old Town Cape and a member of a downtown development team. Once the application is sent in, it could take up to 60 days to find out whether they'll receive the funding.

ehevern@semissourian.com

388-3635

Pertinent address:

401 Independence St., Cape Girardeau MO

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