To the editor:
Old Town Cape is part of the Main Street organization administered by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Since 1980 it has spread to over 1,600 communities throughout the nation. The Main Street program has generated over $15.2 billion of new investment in distressed downtowns and created 206,000 new jobs. The simple fact is that Main Street programs have an excellent track record of working if implemented properly.
Two key factors in a successful Main Street organization are to take baby steps and to involve community volunteers as much as possible. Communities adapt better when change is moderately paced. Radical, quick changes tend to alienate people. Old Town Cape, as with most Main Street organizations, depends heavily on volunteers. Four committees of 10 to 20 volunteers each help make the positive changes that will transform Cape Girardeau's downtown. Each of these committees has a different responsibility: design, organization, promotion and economic restructuring.
The changes recommended by the consultant and mentioned in a recent editorial are to be funded by several grants that are being written by some of the volunteers. Various sources of funding include Community Block and T-21 grants from the federal government. This can add up to many hundreds of thousands of dollars.
It is important to remember that Old Town Cape runs with the cooperation and support of the community. Because of heavy volunteer involvement, it is the citizens of Cape who will effect some of the largest changes to downtown.
Old Town Cape Design Committee