Improving Broadway

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Broadway is the "gateway" to our Cape Girardeau downtown area and the mighty Mississippi River. There are many successful businesses along the Broadway stretch from Pacific Street to Water Street. However, over a period of time, there are also several businesses and storefronts that have suffered, failed and fallen into disrepair for one reason or another. This fact has made this important corridor less than inviting to our residents and our visitors.

I am encouraged about the overall revitalization of our total downtown area. Business owners and residents have been working diligently to make our downtown area a fun and inviting area to work, play, live and shop. This has been encouraged and supported through the leadership of Old Town Cape under the capable leadership of Marla Mills and the organization's board of directors.

We now need to take these improvements and renovations to the next level, as we will be inviting approximately an additional one million visitors to these areas in another year when the Isle of Capri casino opens in late 2012. Opportunity abounds with the major increase in downtown traffic on a daily basis.

The Broadway Transportation Trust Fund project has been greatly enhanced with the financial support of the project by the Isle of Capri. This support was negotiated through the development agreement with Isle of Capri and its purchase of city property at the development site.

The Broadway project is nearing the time of advertising for bid. Construction will follow with a completion date of fourth quarter 2012.

Many citizens have seen the design concepts of this project and have contributed to its final design. The final design, in addition to new street and sidewalks, includes underground wiring, new lighting, trees, designated walkways, benches and other amenities.

I am positive that everyone who drives the Broadway corridor after completion of the project will be enthusiastic about the look and potential of this major street in our city. I am also confident that additional improvements to businesses and storefronts will occur in the next months and years. This has already begun with the announced renovation of the Esquire Theater, the restoration of the Vasterling building at the corner of Sprigg Street and Broadway and the razing of the building at the corner of Middle Street and Broadway.

There will be an inconvenience for businesses, residents and shoppers over the next 10 months or so as construction takes place, but the end result will be worth the relatively short down time as construction proceeds block by block.

We have had a busy and successful year in Cape Girardeau in 2011. 2012 also looks promising for growth and development. I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a merry and blessed Christmas and a happy and successful new year in 2012.

Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of Cape Girardeau.

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