Trolley a potential option for downtown Cape

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Isle Casino Cape Girardeau is now open. The opening ceremony and ribbon cutting was Oct. 30. That important day followed more than two years of negotiations, planning, construction and the hiring of more than 700 employees.

We have a new Broadway corridor and streetscape, an improved and relocated main street, and a completed Transportation Trust Fund project on Big Bend Road.

A previously old and stagnant area on the near north side of downtown is now alive and attracting thousands of visitors daily.

The question now in early November is "now what?"

I have had many positive comments about the casino and the future not only for downtown but for our entire city and area.

We must use this new industry as a catalyst for future residential and commercial growth in the surrounding areas.

An upscale multiunit residential development on North Main has been publicly announced in the Southeast Missourian. There have been several other commercial development inquiries that have much future potential. Six businesses on Broadway have either opened or have improved their property and business.

There is much reason for excitement and enthusiasm in our great city of Cape Girardeau.

I would like to challenge our citizens, business owners and developers to "think outside the box" and be visionary as we continue to grow and expand our city.

One major opportunity, in my mind, is to find a way to move people throughout the downtown area.

I have suggested an on-and-off trolley system where anyone could get on at multiple locations while only having to park one time during their visit.

I envision a trolley that has a "touristy motif" that could further influence the perception of this area being a tourist destination.

A visitor could park at the casino or at our new public lot at the corner of Broadway and Middle Street (soon to be completed) and reasonably circulate throughout Old Town Cape and enjoy shopping, dining, art, the casino and other venues simply by using the trolley system.

I wanted to have at least one of these trolleys in place at the time of the casino's opening, but we simply ran out of time to accomplish the project.

However, the idea is still alive and there is an active committee looking into different options to complete the project. I am excited about the possibilities that could result from this effort.

The above is only an example of an idea that could have multiple benefits for business owners and help move people within the area.

I welcome your thoughts and encourage you to share your ideas with Marla Mills at Old Town Cape or myself.

Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of Cape Girardeau.

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