The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Opinion

June 17, 2013

Trish Patton, guest columnist: Downtown group needs stakeholders' support

JOPLIN, Mo. — On Tuesday the Downtown Joplin Alliance (DJA) tabled the Community Improvement District (CID) initiative. The CID proposal would have supported the economic development, marketing and enhanced streetscaping of the downtown and mid-town area, within the boundaries of D to 15th streets on Main and Wall to Kentucky streets in the First through Seventh streets corridor.

The projects would have been funded by a special assessment of $0.75 on every $100 of assessed property value. It would have created an annual revenue of $80,624 by assessing the property owners within the CID boundaries.

The DJA, a not-for-profit 501(c)3, began the CID formation process with encouragement from the Joplin City Council to be a more self-sustaining organization. The City Council has been supportive of DJA efforts since the organization’s inception. In fiscal year 2011, the City Council supported DJA with a $20,000 grant that decreased by 20 percent each year over four years. It allowed DJA to expand from being a 100-percent volunteer-driven organization to hiring a professional executive director. In 2012, DJA asked the council for its continued support to truly realize the revitalization plans the organization developed. Council appropriated one last grant for 2013. In less than 10 months, DJA created an aggressive plan to implement a CID, a process that takes most cities several years.

In 2012, DJA listened to the feedback of hundreds of area residents and businesses in the form of open forums, surveys and targeted discussions to develop objectives that will enhance downtown Joplin over the next five years. While DJA had an overwhelming ground swell of support from downtown stakeholders, the process was a challenge.

DJA is stepping back to reassess the CID proposal and reflect on the successful implementation of CIDs throughout Missouri in communities such as Springfield, Columbia, Kansas City and St. Louis.

With the collaboration of the City of Joplin, private investors, business owners and DJA, downtown has accomplished so much to enhance its beauty and activity over the past decade. The progress is significant but the work is ongoing. As DJA moves forward, it will need the unwavering and broad-based support of downtown’s stakeholders.

DJA adds a layer of excitement to downtown that city infrastructure and independent businesses alone do not. DJA connects community, preserves downtown’s history and builds traditions for area families and children to cherish. Current events such as Third Thursday can only be continued if private stakeholders invest.

We bring thousands of people into the heart of Joplin through events such as Third Thursday and other events in an effort to keep our downtown vibrant.

We move business by working to attract and retain businesses, coordinating monthly meet-and-greets and educational sessions, and promoting business news in the downtown area.

We move art by supporting the local arts community through the development of eight Third Thursday Art Walks each year and working on public art installments such as the “Welcome to Downtown” Gateway mural at B and Main streets.

We move information by collaborating with the City of Joplin, Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce, the master developer and area media, businesses and residents.

Later this year, DJA will unveil its first philanthropic giving campaign for individuals and business leaders to invest in the rich future of Joplin’s urban core. DJA is grateful for the current support of many downtown merchants, artists, civic organizations, prominent businesses outside of the downtown corridor and individuals who are currently supporting DJA through sponsorships, memberships and in-kind donations.

If you are interested in supporting DJA through volunteerism or financial contribution, please email me at trisha.patton@downtownjoplin.com.

Trisha Patton is the executive director of the Downtown Joplin Alliance.

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