The City of Cape Girardeau is located in southeastern Missouri on the Mississippi River. The historic community of just under 40,000 residents engaged Benchmark Planning to assist the City with the development of a plan to revitalize the riverfront Red Star neighborhood, which was once the home of a major employer in the community – the Red Star Shoe Factory. Following the closure of the factory and subsequent flooding events, a large swath of the neighborhood adjacent to the river had become a negative influence on the community, and the City and the Red Star Neighborhood Association looked to leverage the riverfront land resources in this area, along with the recently developed Isle of Capri Casino between the neighborhood and downtown.
By closely working with the neighborhood association and other community partners, such as Southeast Missouri State University, Benchmark and the City’s planning staff were able to develop a realistic plan with significant community support to serve as a catalyst to revitalize the neighborhood. Some of the recommendations included new landscaped walking trails, picnic shelters, a riverfront boardwalk, an outdoor education center, a community garden, improved boat launch, a “bridge park” connecting to the casino, as well as other recreational and community infrastructure.