The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Our View: Still a good idea

JOPLIN, Mo. — When the Sisters of Mercy Health System offered to donate land on the site of the destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center at 26th Street and Maiden Lane for the city of Joplin to build a tornado memorial museum, we thought it was a generous offer.

We still do.

On Aug. 12, Mercy offered to convey 13 acres to the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. for some type of public/private use, such as a community center. Meetings will be held at 3 and 6 p.m. today in the basement of City Hall, 602 S. Main St. to gather public input.

But we still think the idea of building a museum there has merit.

Consider that the Joplin Museum Complex has needed a new home for years. Now a piece of property has been offered. Located between a public park and an elementary school, a museum, which also would include a wing detailing the history of the 2011 tornado, seems like a great fit. The museum’s extensive collection would lend itself to educational programs geared to children and adults alike.

Members of the Friends of the Museum Board also like the idea. Proponents of the idea will be attending today’s session.

Museum representatives have told David Wallace, chief executive officer of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, and the city’s master developer that they did not want the Union Depot location, which is part of the city manager’s proposed downtown cultural and performing arts complex. Some board members had expressed concern about whether the basement of the old railroad depot could be kept dry with the water leakage that exists there now. They also were concerned about whether vibrations from passing trains would damage museum artifacts and whether train noise would be a nuisance to museum visitors.

We would encourage members of the public to attend one of today’s sessions and make their ideas known.

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