The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

July 30, 2013

Our View: Main’s wins and losses

The Joplin Globe

— Just as Joplin’s Main Street is revving up for a great celebration of Route 66, showing off a collection of new downtown murals and offering up some great places to drink and eat, those in the business of planning — even dreaming — find themselves with little time to enjoy the view.

There are new challenges looming.

The demolition of two buildings in the 900 block of Main Street compounds the loss of another one there that had been destroyed by fire. And the apparent waning interest of the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences in building a downtown medical education building at the current site of the Joplin Public Library now sets up a possible search to fill a void that will occur when a new library is built at 20th Street and Connecticut Avenue.

Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, the city’s contracted master developer hired in the wake of the May 2011 tornado, is still negotiating with KCUMB to locate either downtown or on the Missouri Southern State University campus. In May, the KCUMB board determined that there was not the level of support necessary and voted not to move forward with respect to either proposal. David Wallace, CEO of the firm, says new offers are on the table.

It’s a big undertaking to rebuild the devastated area, even while making sure that we keep the good things we have intact. That would include a downtown that is making great strides.

Frequent updates presented at meetings that are open to the public would be reassuring at this point in Joplin’s redevelopment.

It continues to make the residents of Joplin a part of the solution.