The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

January 4, 2014

Wally Kennedy: South Main where the action is now

JOPLIN, Mo. — I wish I owned a dump truck. I think it’s safe to say that if you owned a dump truck in Joplin right now, you would be doing quite well. I have never seen so many dump trucks at work — especially on South Main Street and Hearnes Boulevard.

The trucks are hauling so much dirt in that area that the streets have an orange tint to them from all of the mud that is being tracked from construction sites to dump sites. It’s really noticeable when it snows.

The biggest movement of earth is taking place where the old Capri hotel/motel used to be. People are speculating about all kinds of developments going in there, ranging from a Cabela’s to a Bass Pro. I’ve called the real estate offices of those companies. Nothing’s happening.

It’s like when I send an email to Dillons and ask whether the company is ever intend to return to Joplin. It’s not a difficult question. A simple “yes” or “no” would take care of it. The answer I get is: “We have nothing specific to report at this time.” Gee, you know, it’s been 2 1/2 years since the tornado. Surely somebody somewhere has decided something by now.

But maybe not. It takes time — a lot of time in some instances — for a development to go from an idea to something concrete. An example of that is happening at the southeast corner of 32nd and Main streets. That corner will be totally different by the end of this year.

The old Cable One building has been torn down. Three other structures west of that property, including the former home of the Tropicana, which originally was a Ken’s Pizza, are coming down, too. A new pharmacy, part of a nationwide chain that’s going toe-to-toe with Walgreens, will be locating there. I’m not naming the pharmacy chain because the company — you guessed it — has nothing specific to report at this time.

But something is clearly happening there. The land deals and planning to pull this project together have been extensive and involved some big bucks. What remains to be seen is how this corner will change. What will happen to the short stretch of South Main Street Road that exists on the west side of the Cable One property? What, if anything, will happen to the cellphone tower on that property? Will MoDOT use this occasion to put in a much needed right-turn lane for traffic headed north on Hearnes Boulevard?

While this is happening, a new shopping center is under construction at the northeast corner of 31st and Main streets. A lot of the dirt going to the Capri site is coming from this project. Has anyone noticed the shifting of the power lines at that site? The lines crossed the middle of the property. They are now on the east side of the property. Planning to do that did not happen overnight. One can only guess how much that might have cost.

A little farther north on Main Street, on the west side of the 2800 block next to Hunan Garden, more earth is being moved for yet another construction project. Details on that to come.

South Main Street would have been even busier with dump trucks had work started as announced on a new grocery store/lofts project at the northwest corner of 26th and Main streets. This is the old Salvation Army Thrift Store/Safeway property. As I recall, the city’s master developer said work would begin there in November. The fact that nothing is happening there should not be cause for concern.

As you can see, it clearly takes time and a lot of planning to make these projects happen.

Something, however, did happen this past week at 26th and Main that involved the city. New traffic signals were installed and just in time to keep all of those dump trucks from running over the rest of us.


Talk about a makeover. The reopened Burger King at 1312 S. Madison St., which is the north end of Range Line Road, is quite an improvement over what existed before.

I dropped by there Friday afternoon for a Whopper, fries and soda. The meal cost $6.29. I got 10 percent off my order because I’m over 50. The total meal with tax came to $6.11. They have discounts for other things as well. Check it out.

The Whopper tasted just like a Whopper should taste. It was good. The fries could have been hotter. The soda was from one of those new dispensers where you push the appropriate buttons and your soda is mixed right before your eyes.

By the way, the place was quite busy while I was there. Maybe Burger King should rethink its exit from the Joplin market.

And, for that matter, why should Webb City have all of the fun? They have an Arby’s; we don’t. They have a Burger King; we don’t. They can still drive 45 mph; we can’t be trusted to go faster than 40 mph. Webb City must be living right. I’m just saying.

IF YOU HAVE NEWS about something happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, call 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an email to; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

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