The selling of a seminary and the making of a school
Thursday, February 14, 2002
The grounds for St. Vincent's Seminary are put up for sale, 10 years after the school closed its doors.
A civic group called Colonial Cape Girardeau Foundation announces plans to buy the seminary property for $700,000 to house a cultural center or museum. The plans fell through the following year due to lack of funding.
Southeast Missouri State University announces plans to renovate and expand the former St. Vincent's Seminary after receiving a gift of 11,402 shares of Exxon stock from Cape Girardeau resident B.W. Harrison. Sale of the stock allows the university to purchase the property for $800,000. The cost of the renovation and construction plan is estimated at $35 million.
Cape Girardeau businessman Jim Drury of MidAmerica Hotels Corp. sends a letter to university officials backing the River Campus project.
Voters approve an ordinance for funding construction of the River Campus. It increases the hotel-motel tax from 3 to 4 percent and extends the tax's life through 2030. In the same election, a bond issue to fund the River Campus gets 53 percent, not enough to meet the 57.2 percent requirement for passage.
Southeast officials announce a change in their funding proposal for the River Campus. They say issuing bonds through the Missouri Health and Educational Facilities Authority is an option.
Jim Drury files a lawsuit over the tax, saying the ballot language did not explain clearly that the money raised would fund the performing arts center project. The suit seeks to stop the city from collecting the tax.
The Missouri Legislature approves $4.6 million for the River Campus project.
The Missouri Legislature approves an additional $11.95 million for the River Campus project.
Circuit Judge Robert Stillwell of Fredericktown, Mo., rules on Drury's lawsuit, finding for the city on six points and for Drury on one: The title is too vague and didn't explain how the money would be used.
The city files an appeal with the state's Eastern District Court of Appeals.
Drury files an appeal, stating that Southeast has illegally advanced a proposal to fund the project through issuing bonds without seeking voter approval first.
Attorneys for the city and Drury argue their cases before a three-judge panel at the Eastern District Court of Appeals in Clayton, Mo.
The appellate court blocks the city from using tax money for the River Campus. Judges say the language on the ballot before the voters violated the state's constitution and the city's charter.
Southeast gets a gift of over $1 million from Sikeston businessman Donald Bedell for the River Campus project.
The Missouri Supreme Court agrees to rule on lower courts' decisions in the River Campus lawsuit.
Drury files a second lawsuit against the River Campus project, stating that the City Council violated the state's Hancock Amendment by extending a deadline given to Southeast for securing funding for the project.