By Astrid Zeppenfeld
Cape Girardeau, Missouri, or simply “Cape” as Missourians affectionately refer to the charming French settlement from the 18th century, is one of Missouri’s favorite spots to meet, play, and just enjoy. Away from the hustle and bustle of major cities like Saint Louis and Kansas City, visitors appreciate the small town feel with the big town amenities that Cape Girardeau has to offer. From strolling along the grand waterfront at the Mississippi River to looking at all the historic sites, such as the Common Pleas courthouse, and then settling on a bench in historic Ivers Square for a little rest, your leisure time in this city never becomes boring.
Corporate meeting planners welcome the opportunity to host their conventions in Cape Girardeau, in part due its central Midwest location. The Drury Plaza Hotel Cape Girardeau Conference Center beckons event planners to schedule large, company-wide gatherings, while numerous other, beautiful hotels in the area offer additional options for any size events as well.
One of the – historic but newly-restored – event sites to take advantage of later this year is the city’s Carnegie Library. Molly Mehner, AICP, ICMA-CM, is Deputy City Manager of the City of Cape Girardeau. She explains, “The Carnegie Library is currently under renovation, along with the Common Pleas Courthouse, to become part of Cape Girardeau’s new City Hall complex. The Carnegie portion of the project will not be available for business gatherings as it will be comprised of offices for our Development Services department. In a new addition that will connect the Carnegie Library and Common Pleas Courthouse, there will be some spaces that may be available for rent once construction is complete. The City Council Chambers and a large conference room for training may be available for reservation by outside groups needing meeting space when not in use by city personnel. Construction will be complete in the fall and we will be moving into the new facilities around October.”
Brenda Newbern, Executive Director at Cape Girardeau Convention and Visitors Bureau, suggests exploring the website keepcapestrong.com to find out how the city and its health department, the chamber of commerce, and the CVB’s team are working together so meetings can continue and companies can prosper, while minimizing any risk of exposure to SARS-CoV-2. Even during the height of the pandemic, a few, socially distanced events by RV groups or fishing associations were made possible by this vigilance and teamwork, so planning your corporate events for 2021 and beyond in Cape Girardeau should be a breeze. Hotels have all put in place extra hygiene methods, so you can safely resume your business meetings in this city.
To unwind after a long day of meetings, the Sportsplex is open for (masked) teambuilding activities. When planning your next convention in Cape Girardeau, don’t forget to mention to your environmentally conscious attendees the newly installed charging stations for their electric cars all around the city. Newbern muses, “Even though, due to the pandemic still raging, mostly individual travelers get to truly enjoy all that Cape Girardeau has to offer at the moment – with the vaccine rollout in place, we are looking forward to seeing our business travelers return as well. Truthfully, we can even conceive an increase in business travel to the area from before the pandemic, as so many recreational travelers have now been exposed to how conveniently located and great of a meeting place our small, big town is.”
Astrid Zeppenfeld is a writer and MM&E’s editor/business development manager from St. Louis.