Editorial: Rediger's top 5 accomplishments as mayor

Harry Rediger didnít necessarily have a burning desire to become Cape Girardeauís mayor eight years ago, but upon the urging of other leaders in the community he decided he would put his hat in the ring for the city he loved.

And itís been a great eight years. As Rediger rides off into the sunset (Bob Fox was sworn in as the new mayor Friday), weíre going to offer you what we think were Redigerís five biggest accomplishments in his two terms as the cityís mayor.

* Casino recruitment: Rediger was critical in helping lay the groundwork for attracting Isle Casino to Cape Girardeau. There were many political and governmental land mines for that project to come to fruition. Rediger helped navigate the property owners, the city and the casino leadership through the many negotiations. Isle has been a great community partner since opening in 2012

* City infrastructure: The city replaced several outdated buildings and systems throughout his tenure, including the wastewater treatment plant, the transfer station, the police station and fire stations. Rediger was instrumental, also, in helping pass another Transportation Trust Fund extension, which will help the city catch up on maintenance of city streets.

* Downtown developments: During Redigerís tenure, the Broadway corridor was completed, and growth has taken over a downtown district that had reached a tipping point. A hotel is in the works. The Marquette Tech District was developed, and many empty buildings have been filled with shops, restaurants and businesses. While there is still room for improvement, the downtown district appears to be thriving. In 2010, during a poor economic situation in the country, the downtown district was, at best, limping if not dying.

* Relationships with south-side residents: This has been a development within the last year or two, but leaders from the impoverished area on the south side now are speaking up, and the city is listening. Much trust has been built over Redigerís time. It was interesting to see the city change course on its most recent park tax plan to incorporate some park projects into the south side of the city when it didnít originally intend to do so. Also, the city is looking into an aggressive investment into the south side with a plan called Purpose Built Communities. These plans are still in early stages of planning and development, but the school district seems to be on board as well.

* Tourism: On Redigerís watch, the city was able to build a water park, a convention center, a SportsPlex and secure funding for a future indoor water/pool facility. Rediger always believed the city needed to invest into projects that would add to the cityís standing as a regional hub. These tourism projects will help the cityís shopping landscape stay relevant as more people shop online.

The mayor, of course, doesnít deserve all the credit, not even most of it. He had a lot of help from city staff, civic leaders and the thousands of people who support the city. And this isnít to say Rediger was perfect; he wasnít, and there were times when Rediger was furious with the newspaperís coverage of certain tension points over the years. But no one can deny Rediger was engaged and had the best interests of the city at heart at all times.

Redigerís body of work is impressive and overwhelmingly positive. The city owes a great deal of gratitude to Rediger, who took up the torch and guided the city through turbulent economic times, and improved it, greatly over his eight years of hard work and service.

Thank you, Mr. Rediger, for all you did for the City of Cape Girardeau.