Vote Ivers Square to win grant for renovation

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

We're all getting used to the new name of Ivers Square in Cape Girardeau.

For those not familiar with this parcel of ground, it formerly went by Common Pleas Courthouse Park, but the name was changed in June to honor James Ivers, a former slave who served as a Union soldier in the Civil War, and his wife, Harriet.

The small park, overlooking the Mississippi, is a big part of the history of Cape Girardeau, some good and some bad. For many years, it's been a place for community gathering, its bandstand surrounded by shady trees an ideal place for performers to entertain crowds. The bandstand also serves as a chapel, where wedding vows have been exchanged and wedding photos taken. It's serene, with a fountain and memorials, including several trees marked in memoriam to love ones who have passed. It's also hosted political rallies and was one of the locations for filming in "Gone Girl."

Currently there is no signage to indicate the change of name, with the only words in view "Common Pleas Courthouse."

An online campaign is underway for funds which could help renovate the property, including proper signage. Old Town Cape Inc. is encouraging you to cast your vote at VoteYourMainStreet.org/capegirardeau to show your support for the project to receive up to a $150,000 grant in private funding by Partners in Preservation: Main Streets, which is distributing the funds to the top 10 of the 25 communities in the running.

The funds would be used for signage to reflect the name change, help restore the gazebo as well as the fountain.

We also encourage you to vote, and up to five times per day, which Partners in Preservation allows. We may need it since we're going up against communities from California to New York.

Samantha Mlot, communication and marketing specialist with Old Town Cape, told Southeast Missourian reporter Marybeth Niederkorn signs are available for free to businesses who wish to promote the project.

"We can bring it by, or you can stop by our office and get one," Mlot said.

An open house detailing the square's preservation plan is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday at the gazebo. Voting is now open and will continue to Oct. 31.

This park is not only frequently used by its residents, but often seen by visitors. Let's do our best to beautify and present it proudly and properly as "Ivers Square."

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