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Monday, Oct. 20, 2014

Members striving for vital downtown

Sunday, September 17, 2006

(Photo)
Members of the Historic Midtown Development Group tour American Legion Park.
The downtown revitalization efforts through our Historic Midtown Development Group are progressing.

Present with me for the Sept. 7, 2006 were: Chuck Grant, vice president; Kathy Medley, secretary; Jim Bucher, treasurer and chairman of the Organization Committee; Harry Sharp, chairman of the Design Committee; Jonathan Maloyed, chairman of the Economic Restructuring Committee; David Friedman, chairman of the Promotion Committee, and Susie Kenedy, vice chairperson of the Promotion Committee. Also present were Missy Marshall, Linda Lowes, Ed Dust, Doug Friend, Harry Pratt, Mike Marshall, Marcia Witt, Larry Tetley, Larry Braden, Mary Turner, Don Newton, Steve Stieger, Marlene Bell, Steve Austin, Sam Raines and Deb Hodges.

My point in mentioning those present is to inform you that it is only through partnerships that Sikeston can succeed in accomplishing the goals we have for our downtown area. We are making great strides to achieve our plans for a vital downtown which will enhance the assets we already have in our community. These changes will not occur overnight, but I hope these updates will prove we are well on our way.

The Economic Restructuring Committee is meeting on a regular basis. Their efforts include surveying merchants, analyzing the data they collected, researching the possibility of becoming an historic district and everything that would involve such as the benefit of tax credits and what the implications would be for the buildings and business owners. They are also working on another demographic survey and will give update later.

The Design Committee is currently drafting a follow-up letter regarding sidewalk improvements. Monique Rice is spearheading efforts for the improvements made on the bandstand in the park. Work is moving forward nicely on that project, however, funds are limited.

The Organization Committee is working on letters that will be sent out this month for members' dues and soliciting new members.

Mike Marshall announced First State Bank and Trust's Downtown Revitalization Loan Program which will offer incentives to downtown businesses. The program provides a 6 percent fixed rate of interest for the term of the loan. The maximum loan amount for any one project would be $50,000. Applications must be received by Dec. 31.

Larry Braden invited HMDG representatives to attend the next Depot meeting to discuss the timeline of completing the Depot's Transportation Enhancement Grant. The deadline for the next Transportation Enhancement Grant is in May. The MoDOT grant looks favorably on non-traditional transportation projects (i.e. bike trails, walking trails, scenic trails, etc).

Doug Friend stated the city is committed to sidewalk and lighting improvements for the Downtown District and will work closely with Board of Municipal Utilities. Hopefully, this commitment will enhance the HMDG's chances to receive a grant for other improvements.

It was suggested to continue improvements along the railroad and American Legion Park to show continuity since the Depot has already started landscape renovations.

Along those lines, the city has agreed to oversee new landscaping efforts and design for Legion Park. Marlene Bell is helping with this project and also attaining a possible volunteer group to help clean the park when needed.

The Promotions Committee is planning a Halloween Family Fun Day on Oct. 28 with pumpkin painting, a costume contest and trick or treating. The Humane Society will have the HOWL'oween Pet Parade and costume contest the same day. The group is also working on the Christmas Open House.

For those concerned or interested in helping make our downtown a more vital, active part of our community, we invite you to get involved. Anyone wanting to contribute to our efforts or specific projects such as the improvements to the bandstand or Legion Park landscape, please make your checks payable to: HMDG or Historic Midtown Development Group C/O James Bucher, P.O. Box Sikeston, MO 63801.