Casino offers more questions than answers for Cape business owners

By Zakk Gammon - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - For years, organizations and business have worked on revitalizing downtown. It's no secret many think something needs to be done.

"I think you'll see a major increase in traffic and hopefully shopping and things like that," said McGinty Jewelers manager Charles McGinty. He says he thinks a casino on the riverfront would be a great help.

"As long as the main drag is on Main Street, it'll be a major positive," he said.

That's where the questions begin. McGinty says nobody really knows where the casino will go if it actually comes to Cape Girardeau, so no one knows what to plan for.

"If they route around downtown, I think everyone will just bypass, go to the casino and hit the road," said McGinty.

Down the street at Kids Wear... Again, owner Chrissy Mayberry shares the same question. She's curious where the new attraction will go as well. "I think anything that attracts people to the downtown area is a definite plus," she said.

A few blocks over, workers at Bel Air Grill prepare for another busy night of customers. Their question isn't about the location, but what type of people the location will actually bring.

"There's a concern that maybe people visiting the bars (will go) to the casino after the bars or leaving the casino and coming here," said server Chad Stewart.

No matter the scenario, Stewart says he worries about people driving drunk or causing a scene at a local bar or restaurant. He does say, though, he's confident his colleagues in the area will take care of business.

"Most of the bar scenes down here, they handle everything pretty good," he said. "The cops, they patrol the area pretty well."

Every business owner Heartland News spoke with agrees: right now, downtown looks like the best area. They say the good outweighs the bad.

"I think that the number of jobs it could potentially create and the influx of money into the downtown area would outweigh any possible crimes that would happen," said McGinty.

Casino developers have until September to submit their application and fee to the Missouri Gaming Commission.

Copyright 2010 KFVS. All rights reserved.