CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - A thriving neighborhood park with a great view of the Mississippi and a place to take your kids for lunch, go fishing or toss a ball.
That is just one of ten redevelopment priorities that leaders of Red Star District in Cape Girardeau, MO want to address this year.
The president of the Red Star Neighborhood Revival Organization, Dan Presson, believes there is a 'worth and value' in approximately 14 acres of open land in his neighborhood that are in a floodplain area by the boat ramp.
"There are a lot of major perks and pluses of this neighborhood," said Presson. "I think everybody in the City of Cape is really excited to see Red Star succeed because really there aren't too many other places that you get direct access to the Mississippi River, direct access to Downtown Cape, easy distance to the university."
The City of Cape used a FEMA grant to buy the now empty parcels of land from Red Star residents who lost their homes from decades of flooding. FEMA's guidelines restrict the city from selling the property to a private company, and they can't build any residential housing there.
With those restrictions in mind, Presson's group wants to transform the flood-prone area into a 'thriving' park, and he said that they're getting pro-bono work from Benchmark Planning out of North Carolina.
"We've discussed with them the opportunities that we have to get people engaged with the riverfront," Presson said. "So talking about boardwalks, naturalized areas. Just places for people to rest, relax and be in some green space right along the Mississippi River."
The first priority that Presson hopes to complete this year will focus on Cape Rock Park.
The area is without electricity, and drug deals are a problem, but the Red Star revival group wants to give it safe lighting.
"A lot of people don't think about how important lighting is to an unlit area, but for a neighborhood like ours it means the world," said Presson.
The project at Cape Rock Park could receive some funding for the parks and storm water tax, which will be voted for renewal in April.
Those interested in volunteering some time toward current and future redevelopment initiatives can learn more at Red Star Neighborhood Revival Organization's next meeting on February 13th at 6pm inside the neighborhood's old baptist church.