CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - For the first time this summer riverboats will be able to dock at the Cape Girardeau, Missouri riverfront.
The Queen of the Mississippi will be in Cape Girardeau on Friday, August 2 and The American Queen will dock on Saturday, Aug. 3 and downtown businesses are excited that the boats will bring tourists back downtown.
Not only are the riverboats docking in Cape Girardeau, the flood gates are finally open which will bring locals down to the riverfront.
Plus, Friday night is First Friday which means many places will stay open late, all of which should mean a bump for businesses’ bottom lines.
"We are really excited that everything is opening back up," said Melissa Burge with Atelier.
"Not only are we’re excited but I imagine all of downtown and City of Cape should be excited because they are beautiful boats,” said Roberty Gentry with The Corner Store, home of the bourbon balls.
Burge and Gentry both make their living through downtown businesses.
"It has been a little slow this summer but not too bad we still have our committed loyal regular customers that we really appreciate," said Burge.
Both said the river walk being closed lead to a slump in business.
Now that it’s back open, the river is bringing people back downtown.
“Immediately when they opened the flood gates people were there waiting and as soon as they were open folks was there,” said Gentry.
However, the flood fight isn’t over just yet.
Debris and several inches of mud are left covering the Riverfront Trail
The Parks and Recreation Department is cleaning up what they can, but it’s a slow process as crews wait for the park to fully re-emerge.
At this point, the parks manager says he’s pleasantly surprised by how little damage the flooding caused.
“Usually when the floods are longer we tend to get a lot more mud and debris,” Brock Davis said, the parks division manager. "Although the mud and debris was bad it wasn’t as bad as we anticipated. We really didn’t know what to expect. We’ve never been through anything this long. "
The Riverfront Trail is now open from the Red Star Boat Ramp to just past the Themis Gate.
Both Gentry and Burge said they’ve missed the out-of-towners who come to Cape Girardeau to see the river and the travelers on the iconic river boats.
“We are excited about getting guest in town we love our travelers. We are anxious to meet them, get to talk to them, get to know them,” said Burge.
“We have definitely missed the travelers who have come here and you know this has been a warm and I’m being kind. A very warm summer,” said Gentry, “We are glad that the weather is a little bit better the flood gates are open and the boats are back here in town.”
Now that the high water has moved out the hope is revenue will start flowing again. "We thrive on new people coming in and seeing what we have,” said Burge.
The Parks and Recreation Department is urging people to be careful when they’re visiting the riverfront.
The water is still up pretty high.
Davis said most importantly people need to stay out of the water.
“That’s very dangerous," Davis said. "You don’t know what’s out there. Like I said we’ve had holes big enough that you can put cars in. So until its all down and we know for sure everything is secure, we just ask people to be careful especially parents with their kids be sure to watch your kids.”>