The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

May 17, 2012

Mercy proposes to donate land for storm museum

JOPLIN, Mo. — An offer has been made by Sisters of Mercy Health System to donate land on the site of the destroyed St. John’s Regional Medical Center at 26th Street and Maiden Lane for the city of Joplin to build a tornado memorial museum, according to information being distributed for the next City Council meeting.

Land donations at the site of the old hospital are to be announced by Mercy on Tuesday, the one-year anniversary of the EF-5 tornado that ultimately claimed 161 lives and destroyed nearly a third of city.

Angie Saporito, a spokeswoman for Mercy, said Thursday night that land is to be donated for a memorial museum, but that she could not disclose anything further because details are still sketchy.

The City Council at a meeting Wednesday night will be asked to consider a measure that would allow the transfer of the land to the city for building a museum within five years, according to the city information.

The city would be given a nine-acre tract at the southeast corner of the intersection for the museum. That parcel is referred to in city documents as Tract 1.

Mercy also would convey to the city a five-acre tract for a future parking lot for the museum and land for a nature area.

“We are aware of it,” or at least some kind of proposal that is to be announced by Mercy on Tuesday, said Allen Shirley, president of the Joplin Historical Society.

He said he and the director of the Joplin Museum Complex have been invited to attend that event, “and we do plan to attend to find out the plans” that Mercy has for the land.

According to the information in the council’s meeting packet, a memorial museum would have to be built within five years, and the city would have to reforest the accompanying nature area or the donated land would revert to Mercy. “If the city completes these obligations, the restrictions will be released,” reads a city memo on the donation agreement that the council will consider.

The agreement between Mercy and the city calls for the closing date and the transfer of deed to take place after the wreckage of St. John’s is demolished.

City Manager Mark Rohr could not be reached late Thursday for comment.

Time and day

THE CITY COUNCIL WILL MEET at 6 p.m. Wednesday instead of Monday next week so that the meeting will not conflict with Joplin High School graduation and a visit by President Barack Obama.

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