The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 28, 2012

Our View: Tough enough

The Joplin Globe

AIRPORT DRIVE, Mo. — “Outstanding response to a catastrophic incident and leadership in fostering resilient and prepared communities.”

That’s why the residents of Joplin and Jane Cage, chairwoman of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team, were honored on Thursday with the Rick Rescorla National Award for Resilience.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, in announcing the award, lauded Cage for creating the “Listening to Joplin” plan. Our community of Joplin was recognized for deciding together to build more resilient schools, develop stronger standards for home construction and to develop shared buildings to use as storm shelters.

Tough stuff for sure. The recognition, of course, comes for Joplin’s response following the May 2011 EF-5 tornado that killed 161 people and destroyed a third of our town.

But, the time for standing tall continues. In fact, the Joplin City Council today will make a decision that will affect the town for decades. It’s a decision that requires bold leadership and commitment to this town.

In a special meeting at 12:15 p.m., the City Council will consider ordinances that would establish a tax increment financing district and authorize associated tornado recovery projects.

It took the city nearly two months to get to this point. Negotiations and discussion went on until finally the funding plan was approved by all 11 members of the TIF Commission.

Council approval of the TIF district will set in motion recommendations of CART, the organization that brought together all the ideas of the residents of Joplin.

It’s why Cage and Joplin have been recognized with an honor that bears the name of a man who on Sept. 11, 2001, led a massive evacuation of Morgan Stanley’s 2,700-person work force located in the South Tower, saving the lives of many of his co-workers.

Is Joplin tough enough to live up to this honor?

Of course it is. But it will take continued forward movement on the part of city leadership.

That’s why we urge the City Council to approve the ordinances that will come before it today.