Cape Girardeau Wins 2015 Great American Main Street Award



  The National Main Street Center announced that Cape Giradeau, Missouri has been chosen as a 2015 Great American Main Street Award® (GAMSA) winner. Each year, the National Main Street Center, a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation recognizes the country’s best examples of comprehensive commercial district revitalization. Winners are selected from a nationwide pool of applicants by a national jury based on successful and innovative uses of the Center’s Main Street Four-Point Approach®.  Old Town Cape, Inc. will receive the award this afternoon at the 2015 National Main Streets Conference held in Atlanta.

Located halfway between St. Louis and Memphis along the Mississippi River, Cape Girardeau is home to an array of arts, education and cultural attractions and over 300 local businesses. With the Main Street Center’s methodology as its guide, Old Town Cape has helped engineer a popular riverfront market, a creative corridor featuring public art and an interactive children’s museum, and a bustling local shopping scene. The result is 85 net new jobs, downtown reinvestment of over $6.6 million and 34 new/relocated businesses in just one year.

“Old Town Cape really captured our attention with its creative partnerships and commitment to historic preservation,” says Patrice Frey, president and CEO of the National Main Street Center. “Its collaboration with arts organizations, business interests and the university brings a dynamic mix of resources downtown, while the city’s impressive list of rehabbed historic buildings demonstrates Cape Girardeau fully embraces preservation’s power to revitalize.”

Thanks to preservation projects, many of which used state and federal historic tax credits, a former high school now offers senior housing, a vacant federal building houses a co-working space and technology incubator, and a seminary serves as the performing arts campus for Southeast Missouri State University. The university also intends to open a student-run creative entrepreneurial incubator and a center for its media programs in historic buildings downtown.

"Downtown Cape Girardeau has seen significant positive change in the past few years,” says Mayor Harry Rediger. “There has been a definite new trend of both commercial and residential development in our downtown area. Old Town Cape has been the catalyst toward this strong momentum and total community support.  I am very excited about the future of our downtown area led by the very active Old Town Cape Board of Directors."

The other two 2015 GAMSA winners are Montclair Center, New Jersey and Rawlins, Wyoming. Criteria for winning include: strength of the Main Street in creating an exciting place to live, work, play and visit; commitment to historic preservation; implementation of model partnerships, and demonstrated success of the Main Street Four-Point Approach.®

To learn about previous GAMSA winners, visit

The Main Street Four-Point Approach® is a proven methodology for historic preservation-based community revitalization. It was developed by the National Trust for Historic Preservation 35 years ago and has been implemented by more than 2,000 communities throughout the U.S.

The National Main Street Center was established in 1980 as a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center works with a nationwide network of communities to encourage preservation-based economic revitalization that utilizes the Main Street Four-Point Approach.® The Center participated in the renewal of more than 2,000 older commercial districts during its 35-year history. Now a subsidiary of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the National Main Street Center provides information, offers technical assistance, holds conferences and workshops, and conducts research and advocacy on critical revitalization issues.

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