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Preserving History while Modernizing for the Future

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to join a couple hundred other guests at the Grand Opening of the Buckner Ragsdale Event Center (BREC) in downtown Cape Girardeau. A long shuttered and underused property now has a new opportunity to benefit the community and region, while highlighting the economic impact that preservation can have.

Constructed in 1893, the Buckner-Ragsdale Building stands as one of the oldest commercial structures in downtown Cape Girardeau. Originally built as a three-story brick building, it served as a prominent retail and office space in the bustling commercial district of the late 19th century.

Throughout its history, the building has undergone several transformations and renovations to accommodate the changing needs of the community. Primarily remembered as a department store, it has had many uses over the years before being closed until its recent redevelopment as an events center.

After significant investment and planning, the building can once again become an anchor of business and community activity in downtown adding to the revitalization efforts within the Old Town Cape District and highlighting importance of preserving assets in a community.

Donovan Rypkema, a leading expert in historic preservation economics shared "Preservation is not about the past; it's about the future. It's not about old buildings; it's about community revitalization, job creation, affordable housing, and sustainable development. It's not about preserving bricks and mortar; it's about preserving the heart and soul of our communities."

When you first get an invitation to attend an event in the new BREC facility, I highly recommend you quickly RSVP yes.