When then-governor Matt Blunt announced in 2006 a statewide program to help Missouri communities revitalize their downtown areas, there were some forward-thinking individuals who saw the potential for positive improvements. Some of those individuals were in Cape Girardeau, and the city was one of the first cities to be designated a DREAM (Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri) Initiative community.
Since then, the DREAM Initiative has spurred several grants amounting to $2.6 million, and another $4 million has been requested for community projects. One of the major results of the DREAM designation has been a development plan for future downtown projects.
Taken together, the DREAM-related projects present an impressive list. Among the many projects getting a DREAM boost: Tunes at Twilight, the Cape Girardeau Storytelling Festival, new parking and restroom facilities on the riverfront, converting Shultz School into senior housing, extension of Fountain Street from Morgan Oak to William streets, tax credits for the Discovery Playhouse Children's Museum and replacement of heating and air conditioning systems at the Common Pleas Courthouse.
The DREAM Initiative is a good example of coordination and allocation of state resources combined with a clear vision of meaningful downtown revitalization.