Isle of Capri checks rock under Cape casino site, meets with utility companies

Friday, December 17, 2010
Geophysical testing is underway Thursday at the casino site on North Main Street, where a boring found sandstone 38 1/2 feet below the surface. (Fred Lynch)

While major construction on the Isle of Capri casino building isn't expected to start until the summer, preparation is now underway at the site.

This week, drilling rigs hired by Isle of Capri are collecting borings to determine the characteristics of the rock under the casino site.

"At this point it is critical to get as much data as you can find," said Cape Girardeau city engineer Kelly Green.

Preliminary plans previously submitted to the city by Isle may be tweaked depending on the data received about the site, said Jill Haynes, director of corporate communication at Isle of Capri.

Kuhlmann Design Group Inc. of St. Louis is finishing final plans scheduled to be submitted to the city before Christmas. The city's planning and zoning commission reviewed the preliminary plans and on Dec. 8 recommended them for approval by the city council.

"A building of this size and scope requires a great deal of detail, and that takes time to complete," Haynes said.

This week, the city received preliminary plans for the relocation of North Main Street between Mason and Mill streets, Green said.

It is not known what the construction cost of the new half-mile stretch of road will be, but according to the development agreement between the city and Isle, the casino will pay for the project.

City manager Scott Meyer said the city could issue bonds that Isle of Capri would be responsible for repaying.

"They have done that in other places," Meyer said. "That provision has always been in the development agreement."

The new North Main Street will be a 36-foot-wide, two-lane road that will be widened to include a turn lane at the casino entrance, Green said.

The city's engineering department is working with Isle to put together a bid packet for contractors.

In late February, the city will advertise for bids. Once that is done, contractors will have about three weeks to submit their bids. A contract should be awarded by late March, Green said. The number of days the company has to complete the project isn't yet known but will be included in the bid packet.

As part of the road construction project, all utility lines in the area will have to be moved, including city water and sewer lines, Ameren Missouri gas and electric lines and telephone and cable lines.

Green and Isle of Capri representatives met this week with utility companies to provide them with plans and discuss the roadway project.

"They're moving right along and doing a really good job," Green said about Isle.

The city is vacating some of its right of way and will transfer roughly 11 acres of city-owned property on the project site to Isle. In exchange Isle has agreed to pay the city $2 million upon transfer of the property. Meyer said he did not know specifically when the transfer will take place.

Isle is now exercising its options to buy properties it needs and tearing down houses and other buildings there.

Seven buildings have already been torn down, and the city has granted demolition permits for three more homes at the casino site.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

North Main Street, between Mason and Mill Streets, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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