The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

August 5, 2013

Our View: Route cause

— It’s a stretch of highway that links Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas. But with continued planning and cooperation, historic Route 66 could help this region travel down the road of economic  opportunity.

“The original route went through the heart of all of our communities, which is Carthage, Webb City, Carterville and Joplin,” Brad Belk, director of the Joplin Museum Complex, told the Globe.

“It continued through Galena and Baxter Springs, Kan., and Quapaw, Commerce and Miami, Okla.”

It gave travelers an intimate look at the area. That could happen all over again. In fact, the Route 66 International Festival, which continues today and Saturday, is estimated to bring 4,000 to 8,000 people to the area.

We live in the heart of a tourism mecca, and, as local entrepreneurs have either added back to the Mother Road or are preserving what’s left along the highway, we are claiming more and more interest.

And who wouldn’t want to visit  places where famous movie stars, such as Clark Gable, once stayed? Who wouldn’t want to take a bite out of a hamburger from a restaurant on the route or have their picture taken with a mural commemorating the old American route?

We welcome those who are visiting our special part of the route today and Saturday.

We also look forward to a follow-up report detailing the economic boost those visitors provided to the area.

In our view, our unique and fascinating history is a road map to a thriving future.

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