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Cape County takes next step toward new EMA building

Photo by Jay Forness

The Cape Girardeau County Commission has moved forward in the planning of a possible new emergency management (EMA) building to safely house equipment needed in the event of an emergency.

Commissioner Paul Koeper said the county’s emergency equipment, much of which is stored outside, is currently susceptible to being damaged or blown away in the event of a tornado or earthquake.

In addition to storage space, the proposed one-story building would include offices to house the county’s emergency management department and space for meetings with state and federal agencies during a disaster response.

The county received two responses to a request for qualifications to provide architectural and engineering work for the potential EMA facility – Dille Pollard in Cape Girardeau and Ross & Baruzzini in St. Louis.

“I called both of them and both are very well qualified,” Paul Koeper said. “Our project should be fairly simple – we don’t want anything really elaborate. We want the outside of the building to look nice, but the inside is going to be basically a working building.”

Koeper recommended going with Dille Pollard, as they are local and have experience with projects including FEMA storm shelters.

The commission unanimously approved entering into a contract with Dille Pollard to do the pre-design planning work for the project. Koeper said they would want to know the potential cost to build before moving forward with design work or construction.

“With prices going up every day, we don’t know where we are going to be with this whole thing,” Koeper said. “We may only go so far as get through the design stage and have these plans for a later date.”

The commission also approved the county to apply for a grant from the Delta Regional Authority to cover infrastructure costs related to the project.

In other action

• The county commission approved County Clerk Kara Clark Summers precinct inspection report, which included all changes to the precinct lines over the past year due to the census and redistricting.

The county clerk’s office will be making changes to operations at the voting precincts located at the Jackson Elks Lodge and Cape Girardeau Arena Building. Both locations hold multiple precincts, which have been separated to different areas of the building. This year, the precincts will be located at one central location in each building.

“Their results will still be tabulated separately by precinct,” Summers said. “We hope that the flow will go better and voters won’t be confused when they come in. They will go to one central location to check in and get their appropriate ballot style.”

The City of Jackson ward boundary lines were changed and approved by the Jackson Board of Aldermen. Voters who were affective were notified of the ward changes. The City of Cape Girardeau ward boundary lines will also change, but had not been approved as of May 16.

The county commission district lines will remain the same. Summers said there was no way to change the district lines to be more equal without crossing ward boundaries. District one includes the City of Jackson and the outer areas of the county. District two includes the area within the limits of the City of Cape Girardeau.

The Missouri House of Representative districts have also changed, adding district 151 to the districts 146 and 147 in Cape Girardeau County. Summers said voters who are affected by house district changes prior to the August primary elections.

Summers said the notices were delayed by the congressional redistricting, which was signed by Governor Mike Parson on May 18, so the county could send all notifications at one time.

• The county commission approved a nearly $2 million bid from Apex Paving for paving this year, stating that fewer county roads will be overlaid this year due to the high cost of asphalt.

“We had to take a few overlays out because the prices were so high,” Koeper said. “Last year we paid $49.50 a ton for asphalt. This year it’s $71.82 a ton.”

• The county commission approved a new policy for the use of the bathrooms in the former Cape Girardeau County Courthouse for events located on the courthouse lawn. Organizations can submit a refundable $500 deposit per day to use the restrooms.

The deposit is returned as long as the restrooms are returned in the same condition as they started. “This is a way to encourage them to take better care of them,” Presiding Commissioner Clint Tracy said.

Jay Forness covers education, county government and community events for The Cash-Book Journal. He graduated from Southeast Missouri State University with a degree in multimedia journalism and has lived in Jackson for the past five years. He can be reached at

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