By Sharon Beshore
Special to The Globe
JOPLIN, Mo. —
As a 32-year resident of Joplin, I am committed to supporting all efforts to create a better future for Joplin and our region.
I have never been more proud of Joplin than during the last year and a half since the devastating tornado. We have witnessed the response by our city and school leaders and staff, community leaders and organizations, citizens and volunteers. We have pulled together — united — in the post-tornado recovery and rebuilding of Joplin. It took everyone working together. From the beginning of this tragedy, we have been united by a belief that we can rebuild Joplin bigger and better. During this time, the Joplin has been a model for the recovery and rebuilding process because of expedient decisions, cooperation and hard work, commitment to take action, follow-through and vision.
In addition, during the last year, the citizens of Joplin worked through the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team (CART) to thoughtfully plan a better future for Joplin.
I have followed with extreme interest the discussions taking place regarding the tax increment financing district. The proposed TIF district is an essential part of the implementation of CART recommendations that have been supported by the citizens, approved by the City Council and are now being implemented by the city’s master developer for tornado recovery, Wallace-Bajjali Development Partners. TIF is one of the funding tools available to create and accelerate the redevelopment of Joplin. The city and its citizens are the beneficiaries of the TIF district.
With that in mind, I want to express my hope that the TIF discussions are moving forward positively to use this important funding mechanism that will support 19 proposed projects. I hope that greater understanding and solutions will help achieve success for the strategic development of the city of Joplin, while also supporting the needs of the Joplin schools and their students.
We do not want to see the scars on our landscape or the lack of timely rebuilding and redevelopment affect Joplin and its citizens for many years to come.
It requires hard decisions. Joplin is at a crossroads. We can move forward in cooperation and unity in a timely way (by Dec. 14) or stall in indecision and divisiveness. There is urgency in making a timely decision as the window of opportunity will close with the loss of revenue, thereby affecting additional funding mechanisms and the future of Joplin.
I appeal to the TIF commissioners to vote in favor of the TIF district, and I appeal to the City Council members to consequently support TIF, one of the first steps forward in a redevelopment plan that can begin to create a better Joplin.