EFFERSON CITY - City officals' dreams apparently came true Wednesday when Sikeston was named one of the Department of Economic Development's "DREAM" cities.
The Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri Initiative is designed to help communities receive state assistance to ultimately improve the area's economy.
City Manager Doug Friend said the awarding of the designation "validates the hard work that the downtown group has put together over the last 18 months to revitalize the downtown. This is another opportunity for us to expand to economic development and revitaliztion issues in the community."
The DREAM Initiative is a comprehensive approach to downtown revitalization that includes aid navigating through various state assistance programs to help with job creation and community betterment projects. Support for DREAM cities includes technical and financial assistance for infrastructure improvements, historic preservation, affordable housing, community services, business development and job creation. The communities receive the designation for a three year period.
"The opportunities that will be available through the DREAM Initiative will be an asset to our city," said State Rep. Ellen Brandom. "I am looking forward to seeing the program in action, and I'm excited about the difference it will make in the community."
Cities are selected based on their potential to invest time and effort into the process. In order to apply, the city presented a comprehensive, multi-
dimensional approach to revitalization to the Department of Economic Development.
Sikeston was one of 10 communities named to the program. Also selected were: Aurora, Caruthersville, Chillicothe, Clinton, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Poplar Bluff and Trenton.
"Missouri relies on its local economies and the investment of Missourians who are interested in preserving a sense of place and cultural heritage in the hearts of their communities," Missouri Gov. Matt Blunt said. "I congratulate this year's DREAM communities and look forward to working with them to provide these new resources to enhance their downtowns and neighborhoods."
Governor Blunt unveiled the DREAM Initiative last year to provide Missouri's small and mid-sized towns the same access to economic development tools as larger communities. The DREAM Initiative supports a comprehensive approach to concentrate resources and available tools to allow communities to accomplish their broad-based and long term revitalization and redevelopment goals more quickly than ever before.
Applications were evaluated by representatives from the three DREAM Initiative partners, the Missouri Department of Economic Development, the Missouri Development Finance Board and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. The evaluation process included confirming applications were complete and attention to community capacity, vision, opportunity for private investment, broad community support and a comprehensive approach.