This past year has been filled with many opportunities and challenges. It has also been a very important year for our city and its future.
First I would like to state that many of the accomplishments of this past year were the result of the hard work and efforts of our city staff, past mayor Jay Knudtson and our previous city council. Our current city staff and council, under the outstanding leadership of city manager Scott Meyer, is capable and well trained as they work to lead our city into the future.
GAMING: We worked most of the year on our casino proposal that culminated in our prioritization against competition from Kansas City and St. Louis. Our citizens' 61 percent positive vote on this issue was critical to this result. The official ground breaking last week signaled the starting of construction toward a December 2012 opening. This will provide up to 400 construction jobs and 450 casino jobs upon opening. I look for Isle of Capri to be a great community corporate partner.
PARKS AND RECREATION: We experienced very positive openings for Cape Splash, the Jaycee Municipal Golf Course, the Osage expansion, an Arena Building update, and our new community center at Shawnee Park. These all were made possible through the positive citizens' vote in 2008 for the parks tax.
TRANSPORTATION TRUST FUND: Voters approved in August to continue our TTF program by authorizing another five years of projects known as TTF-4. We had ribbon cuttings on TTF-3 projects at Fountain Street and Veterans Memorial Drive. Construction is underway on major improvements to Big Bend Road. We anticipate the Bloomfield project will be underway by the first half of this year along with continued design work on Armstrong Drive and Broadway.
JOBS: We had, in addition to Isle, new announcements during the year at Spartech, Blair Packaging (the former Thorngate Building), T.J. Maxx and, more recently, Menards. 2011 promises to be another positive economic year despite job losses at McKesson Corp. and Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.
COMMANDER: This is the year we will have the Commander building at the airport back in our hands for marketing. We elected to pay the debt and not rebond. We look forward to beginning to receive some income from that building.
WASTE WATER: We received an overwhelming positive response from our citizens to our request to move forward with our new wastewater treatment plant in the most economical way possible. We feel through improvements in design, engineering and new technology that we can actually deliver this plant at a lower cost than originally projected. This plant will be a great addition to the city's infrastructure.
City staff, the Planning and Zoning Commission and council have spent many hours this year revising and updating our zoning and development codes. Long overdue, this is a very positive step toward ensuring the orderly growth of our city.
I am very proud of our staff and council for positively reacting to citizen input on several issues. Key here were the noise, bike lane and smoking issues.
These are but a few of the highlights of a very busy and productive year for Cape Girardeau. Thank you for the privilege you have given me to serve as your mayor. I look forward to a very successful 2011 as we work together to grow our city and region.
Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of the city of Cape Girardeau.