Members of public sign last steel beam of Cape casino

Friday, December 16, 2011
Carolers sing in the background as Ryan McClard, left, Dave Hutson, center, and Jeanne Churchill sign the steel beam Thursday that will be added to the Isle of Capri in the final stages of construction. Isle of Capri hosted the food drive and beam signing in front of Hutson's Fine Furniture in downtown Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

People lined up Thursday afternoon to sign their name on a piece of Cape Girardeau history: the final steel beam to be placed in the Isle of Capri Casino.

The casino hosted a holiday-themed beam signing party in the Hutson's Fine Furniture parking lot in downtown Cape Girardeau complete with Christmas carolers. The Southeast Missouri Food Bank had a collection truck on hand for those willing to donate nonperishable food items.

The casino complex, under construction since this summer on North Main Street, will have a steel structure made of 1,469 tons of steel. So far, Grover Mays Construction of Anna, Ill., has installed about 250 tons of steel.

"The next major milestone will be the topping out of the steel, which will be in February," said Jill Alexander, spokeswoman for Isle of Capri.

It's a steelworkers' tradition that the last piece of steel to be erected on a building project is a symbol of good luck. The last beam is typically signed by steel workers before it is hoisted up to the top. This is the first time Isle of Capri has invited the public to sign a beam.

More than 200 people signed the beam.

Sixty-five to 70 workers have been at the casino construction site daily, Alexander said.

"Once the building is under roof, that number could go up to as many as 200 per day on average," she said.

According to Isle's last financial statement, during the second quarter of its fiscal year, it spent $7.8 million related to its Cape Girardeau casino project and expects to spend an additional $30 million here before the end of its fiscal year.

Concrete work is now complete on both the foundation for the basin that will hold the land-based casino's floating gaming floor and the floor itself.

Work to relocate North Main Street to bypass the casino site was completed in October by Fronabarger Concreters of Oak Ridge. Crews are finishing up installing light polls along the new roadway, which was intermittently closed during the past few weeks as that work was completed, Alexander said.

"We anticipate turning on the lights next week," she said.

The casino complex, scheduled to open late next year, will have 1,000 slot machines, 28 table games, several restaurants and a 750-seat entertainment complex.

mmiller@semissourian.com

388-3646

Pertinent address:

Main and Independence Streets, Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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