We have had a very exciting and productive year in the Cape Girardeau area. I will devote this space to a review of 2012 on economic development, infrastructure progress and internal governmental issues.
There has been a lot of action in business and economic development this year, highlighted by the completion and opening of the Isle Casino on Oct. 30. This new industry will add 450 to 475 full time equivalent employees to our community. They anticipate more than 1 million visitors the first year of operation. This new business will add significantly to our city and local school district revenue base.
Procter & Gamble announced a $300 million expansion that will add approximately 50 jobs to its large base of employees.
NARS added more than 100 jobs this year to its call center.
Menards opened its huge home center in April adding 140 new jobs.
BioKyowa and QC Corp. announced major expansion plans during the year that are currently under construction.
Two of the largest building projects in the history of Cape Girardeau were either completed or started during 2012. The $135 million Isle Casino project was completed in October, and the groundbreaking for the $127 million expansion at Saint Francis Medical Center occurred Nov. 28.
There also has been considerable development throughout our region with new projects in Sikeston, Mo., Perryville, Mo., and Jackson. The new Nordenia facility in Jackson (now Mondi) opened during 2012 adding employment to the region.
We, in Cape Girardeau, could not continue our significant growth trend without the benefit of continued growth of our regional neighboring city partners.
Southeast Missouri State University continues its growth with record enrollment this year. A new dormitory is under construction and will open next year. Also announced this year is a major expansion to the successful River Campus. The university continues to be an important economic engine for our community.
There has been much activity as it pertains to our city infrastructure during 2012. Construction began during the summer on the new city wastewater treatment plant, which will be completed by June 2014. We made the switch to all well water rather than using river water mid-year, which has been well received by our citizens and will result in a cost savings in chemical expenses.
Our staff refinanced our long-term water bonds, which will enable the city to complete an additional $16 million in new water infrastructure projects during the life of the bonds.
Wayfinding signage has been installed along our major thoroughfares.
Transportation Trust Fund projects completed in 2012 include Veterans Memorial Drive, Broadway, North Main Street, Big Bend Road and Bloomfield Road. A major overlay project on William Street also was recently completed.
Our new leaf pick-up system was recently activated and has received much positive feedback from citizens.
There also has been much activity internally with council and staff completing and approving the landlord/tenant ordinance -- which will improve our housing stock -- an annexation plan, facilities plan, public art policy, customer service survey and the Capaha Park/trail system master plan.
Staff members also are forming the Metropolitan Planning Organization and installing new innovative software that will upgrade the efficiency of many of our clerical processes.
Two disappointments during 2012 were the inability to facilitate a purchase of the former federal building on Broadway and the lingering bankruptcy that has tied up the Commander building at our airport. I am hopeful that these issues can be resolved in 2013.
I am very much looking forward to another great year in 2013.
Merry Christmas and happy new year to all our citizens.
Harry E. Rediger is the mayor of Cape Girardeau.