Ideas for the CVB

Thursday, September 2, 2004

For some time now, city officials and Convention and Visitors Bureau officials have known that Cape Girardeau's hotel-restaurant sales taxes would start to accumulate a surplus after paying off Show Me Center bonds and before revenue from the sales taxes would be committed to paying off River Campus bonds. As it turns out, that surplus will be near $1 million, and a decision on what to do with the money has to be made.

A few weeks ago, the Cape Girardeau City Council gave the CVB a December deadline for making a recommendation. Over the past couple of weeks, the CVB has run newspaper ads soliciting public comment. Tuesday was the deadline, and more than 100 suggestions were received.

It's too early to size up all the comments. That's a process a CVB strategic planning group will go through this month, resulting in a recommendation to the CVB task force in October. From there, the recommendation will go to the Cape Girardeau Chamber of Commerce board (the CVB is operated by the chamber under a contract with the city). And the final step will be to make a recommendation to the city council in November, well ahead of the deadline.

There are several options for the surplus. One is to not spend it but to keep it for a special need that might arise. Another is to pay down the city's portion of the River Campus project, which will be an arts campus for Southeast Missouri State University at the former St. Vincent's Seminary overlooking the Mississippi River in downtown Cape Girardeau. Still another possibility is to use the money on projects that will promote the community.

The more than 100 individuals who took the time to share their ideas are to be commended. Many of them thanked the CVB for the opportunity to participate. That's good. And it's an indication of how a community working together can come up with the best ideas.

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