Farmington Designated a DREAM Community

Farmington Designated a DREAM Community
By: CJ Cassidy

FARMINGTON, Mo. - Governor Matt Blunt designated Cape Girardeau a DREAM Community back in 2006.  Now Farmington becomes the latest to join those ranks, and they are dreaming big.
City leaders want to attract more tourists to Farmington.  They have a lot of plans, and a big part involves people's love of wine.
Mayor Jeannie Roberts hopes getting designated a DREAM Community does the same for residents.
"I'd like to see a wine tourism center in Farmington," she said. "If you've been to Sonoma or Napa Valley, that's the kind of thing we'd like to have and maybe provide transport to our wine areas. I envision sidewalk cafes, certainly more tourist type businesses developing."
DREAM stands for Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri.
Roberts wants to expand her downtown to include and preserve historic homes and give tourists a reason to stop there.
"We don't want them to drive back to St. Louis or Cape. We want them to stay here for the night," Roberts said.
Cape Girardeau Mayor Jay Knudtson knows all about making changes.  You may recall state planners using focus groups and surveys to take down ideas of how to improve the city's downtown.  Now Knudtson says get ready to see some of those plans materialize in the next 12 months.
Knudtson points out the process can take a while, but Farmington residents say they're excited, and offer up some ideas of their own.
"Maybe businesses can stay open later, that would help," said Landon Wisdom, a store clerk.
"It puts us more on a level playfield with the larger cities in the state," Roberts said.
The Heartland is already getting a reputation as a wine destination.  St. Genevieve gets a lot of traffic from wine lovers and Farmington hopes it can serve up some competition to its neighbor.