The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 14, 2014

Your View: We are better than this

JOPLIN, Mo. — Long investigations. Short tempers. Petty politics. Rash decisions. Without a doubt, Joplin is a better city than this.

The current malaise at City Hall is a direct result of the capacity crisis the city is experiencing. It’s not an uncommon phenomenon in recovering communities. There comes a juncture, after external assistance draws down, when recovering cities are often unprepared to fully assume the reins. In our case, there was a natural decrescendo helping from afar during the second year of recovery. We did not appropriately plan for the void it would leave behind. Focus, cohesion and progress have suffered since.

A solution? One idea is to increase capacity by empowering the Joplin Redevelopment Corporation and making it the sole manager of redevelopment in the TIF, or recovery zone. In this model, the JRC would be led by a director of recovery who is laser-focused on the task at hand. The director would provide regular reports to the City Council on behalf of the JRC board and manage the efforts of the master developer. In tandem, the new city manager would be responsible for day-to-day operations, planning and other economic opportunities outside of the TIF area.

The cost of increasing this capacity would be offset by construction delays, the inability to accrue additional resources and other missed opportunities, if we fail to act. Perhaps one of the most valuable things it would provide is better morale inside and out of City Hall.

I think ex-city manager Mark Rohr would be an excellent director of recovery. His presence would also help the city transition to a new city manager at a crucial time in its recovery.

Todd Patterson


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