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Cape Girardeau Officials Break Ground on New City Hall Location: The Old City Hall Location

Clayton Hester

Wednesday morning saw the ceremonial groundbreaking at Common Pleas Courthouse and Annex in honor of renovations that will be done to establish the building as the new location of city hall - a role it used to serve before being moved into the Lorimier School building in 1978. 

Mayor Bob Fox, City Manager Scott Meyer, Deputy City Manager Molly Mehner, and Penzel Construction CEO Phil Penzel spoke about the project prior to taking up shovels. 

The project has been a long time in the making, Meyer said, dating back to the tenure of former Cape mayor Harry Rediger. The two had in the past disagreed about the relocation of the building, sometimes alternating their position on where the final spot for city hall should be, he said. But Meyer said he believes this to be the right decision. 

Penzel said he holds this to be a special project for him. While he and his company have worked on historic projects in the past, this one relates to personal history: his ancestors arrived in Cape Girardeau in 1854, the same year the Common Pleas Courthouse was completed. 

“It is so exciting to know that after six generations, I get to be able to touch a building my ancestors saw being built when they were arriving in Cape Girardeau,” Penzel said. 

Mehner said that she has been passionate about the project and seeing it through. 

“Some day in the future, when I am asked that question, ‘What are you most proud of in your career?’, this project is going to be at the top of my list,” she said. 

In addition to adapting elements of the buildings in a modern and “forward-focused” way, the project preserves both the Common Pleas Courthouse and the Carnegie library, “two landmark buildings,” and keeps the seat of the city government in downtown Cape Girardeau where it has always been, she said.