The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 14, 2012

City plans for Walk of Unity

From staff reports

JOPLIN, Mo. — The city of Joplin is inviting community organizations to attend a planning meeting for events connected to the one-year anniversary of the May 22 tornado.

The meeting is scheduled for 5 p.m. Wednesday in the basement conference room of Joplin City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

In a statement released Friday, the city announced that the anniversary will include a “Walk of Unity,’’ which will cover a distance across the city roughly along the path of the tornado.

Any member of the community will be welcome to take part in the walk.

Patrick Tuttle, director of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the planning meeting is intended for civic and community organizations that are interested in helping to stage the event.

Tuttle said there will be several events, or stops, along the walk route with each focusing on a different aspect of the community. One will focus on the rebuilding of Joplin’s schools. Another will focus on the faith-based community. Another stop will focus on the children affected by the tornado.

The walk will culminate with an event at Cunningham Park.

Tuttle said he doesn’t want to make concrete plans until the community has an opportunity to provide input.

“At this point, we’re trying to be vague because we want to see what the community wants,” he said.

One thing of which Tuttle is certain is his desire to keep the event from becoming commercialized. He said the city does not plan on allowing vendors along the route.

Organizers are encouraging groups who participate to wear identifying shirts if possible to demonstrate the numbers of groups that participated in Joplin’s recovery. Tuttle said it is not necessary for those who plan on participating to attend the planning meeting. He said it is intended for organizations who are interested in coordinating the event.

For information on the meeting, call 417-625-4798.