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Stories, things to do, and one of a kind tips from downtown Cape Girardeau.
Meet Our Board: Danny Essner

Old Town Cape, Inc. currently has a 15-member Board of Directors, and we believe it’s time you meet them! Get to know our Board President, Danny Essner below.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself (job, family, hobbies, etc.)
I grew up in Kelso where my family owned the local Conoco station. I went to high school at Notre Dame in Cape and spent my college years at SEMO State, where I obtained a BS in Math in 1972. I moved to Cape from Kelso after graduation and have been here ever since except for a two year stint in Ft Worth in the early eighties. I spent 45 years in the banking and finance industry, eventually retiring from Capaha Bank in 2017. I have been married to my wife Debbie for 35 years and have two daughters, Kasie, who is a pharmacist here in Cape, and Kerri, who works as drug rep in St. Louis. My hobbies include reading, landscaping, and old cars.

2. What is your current role on the OTC Board and how long you have served?
I joined the OTC board in 2016 and currently serve as the board president.

3. Why did you choose to join the OTC Board?
I am very passionate about Cape Girardeau in general and can’t think of any place where I would rather live, work and play. I am particularly passionate about Downtown Cape. I love history, old buildings, and the river – all of which you can find in downtown. I grew up when downtown was the retail center of Cape and have witnessed its decline and resurgence over the years. Most people would agree that downtown has become the place to go in Cape for dining, entertainment, and boutique shopping and is the heart and soul of Cape Girardeau today. It has been exciting to watch the resurgence of downtown, but there is so much more yet to be done. I wanted to get involved and help keep the momentum going.

4. What special perspective/qualities do you believe you bring to the Board?
I spent many years as a commercial lender, working with developers on both new construction and renovations of existing buildings. I have also been extensively involved with our local Chamber and the City, particularly in the area of economic development.

5. What do you love most about Downtown Cape?
I love the ambiance, whether it’s grabbing an ice cream cone and walking down to the river, relaxing at Tunes at Twilight, or checking out the produce and eating brats and burgers at the Farmer’s Market. Regardless of what I am doing in downtown, I invariably run into friends and friendly people everywhere I go – which is ultimately what I enjoy the most.

6. Where is your favorite place to go when you’re downtown?
It’s hard to pick just one, but I would have to say the river front, particularly at night when the lights of the bridge are reflecting off of the water. It just doesn’t get any better than that.

7. What’s your favorite Old Town Cape event?
The Cape Riverfront Market

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