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A statewide initiative is revitalizing the downtown areas of 20 communities throughout Missouri, with more recipients to be announced later this year.
In less than two years, the Downtown Revitalization and Economic Assistance for Missouri (DREAM) initiative has benefited 20 communities throughout the state; 10 locations received DREAM status in 2006 with an additional 10 announced in 2007. Devised by Governor Matt Blunt and the Missouri Department of Economic Development (DED), DREAM focuses on creating jobs, attracting private investments, preserving historic sites, and increasing property values.
The initiative offers state financial and technical assistance, such as infrastructure improvement, business development, and affordable housing, for downtown revitalization efforts undertaken by selected communities. It also reduces the complexity of such projects by streamlining processes for major state incentives such as the Downtown Economic Stimulus Act, the Downtown Preservation initiative, and the Brownfield Redevelopment & Demolition tax credits so communities can reach their goals more efficiently.
Communities submit a single application to be reviewed by the DED, the Missouri Development Finance Board, and the Missouri Housing Development Commission. Selected applicants receive DREAM designation for three years and partner with state agencies to help lure private investment. Gov. Blunt says $32 million in public funds have generated $174 million worth of private investment in the 10 DREAM communities announced in 2006.
Those original Missouri locations are Cape Girardeau, Excelsior Springs, Hannibal, Hermann, Kennett, Neosho, St. Joseph, Sedalia, Washington, and West Plains. The second batch, announced last year, are Aurora, Caruthersville, Chillicothe, Clinton, Kirksville, Maryville, Mexico, Poplar Bluff, Sikeston, and Trenton. The 2008 recipients will be announced later this year.