Last month, John Voss had questions. On Monday night, he said he had his answer: Old Town Cape is worth it.
The Cape Girardeau City Council member had raised concerns last month about an additional $20,000 the council has been giving in recent years to the not-for-profit organization that works toward revitalizing the city's downtown.
After Voss met with organization executive director Marla Mills, board president Dennis Meyer and assistant city manager Heather Brooks, he said he was ready to support the request. The council voted to approve the funding on a unanimous vote that was part of the consent agenda.
"I'm very satisfied and I'm wholeheartedly ready to support the continued funding for Old Town Cape and specifically the Dream initiative," Voss said. "... You guys have done some miraculous things on a shoestring budget."
The council for years has voted to fund $20,000 for the group. But in the last few years, the council has voted to give an additional $20,000 for implementation of the downtown strategic plan. The plan, adopted in 2009 by the council and its partners, listed 71 tasks to improve the downtown area.
But based on Voss' concerns, the annual contract with Old Town Cape was amended at the council's Monday night meeting to reflect the regular ongoing $20,000 and a separate contract was created for the services related to implementation of the downtown strategic plan.
A report prepared by Brooks said that, to date, more than 50 of the 71 tasks identified in the 10-year plan have either been started or finished. The report says the efforts of the development team, which includes Old Town Cape, has brought in just more than $3 million to downtown Cape Girardeau.
Voss asked Mills and her board to come back within the next month or so with four or five items that will "come to life that we could go measure in the coming 12 months."
Mills said her organization is working on that and that Voss' request was reasonable.
"The contract we proposed was the same exact contract as last year," Mills told the council. "So to move to something that points out which specific parts of the plan that we're working on is very good."
After the study session, Mills said Voss' desire is to prioritize which items they're working on over the next year.
"They know where the money is going," Mills said. "It was never a question of where the money was going. It was just which pieces of the plan we'll be working on and how we will implement them."
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