The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

April 6, 2013

Wally Kennedy: Joplin to get roller skating rink

By Wally Kennedy
Globe Staff Writer

JOPLIN, Mo. — Joplin is going to have a roller-skating rink again.

The tornado ripped away much of the roof from Keeley’s Silver Wheels, 2800 E. 24th St. That let the elements inside. Moisture warped the wood floor beyond repair.

The rink’s future was in doubt, but a successful rink operator, Rick Carson, acquired the property and plans to get those silver wheels rolling again as quickly as possible.

“Hopefully, we’ll have it reopening in mid-June,’’ Carson said. “The tornado destroyed the back 60 feet of the building, including the roof.

“It will be completely remodeled. We’ll have a roller rink and indoor playground for little kids, too,’’ he said.

In addition, he intends to update the operation of the rink, which will be known as Roller City of Joplin.

This is a homecoming of sorts for Carson, who managed Keeley’s many years ago. Keeley’s was founded in 1973. Carson has been in the business for more than 30 years.

“We sold our last rink in Oklahoma, and we’re planning to move to Joplin,’’ Carson said.

The deal on the property closed March 29, according to Gil Stevens, with Keller Williams of Joplin.

PALACE PIZZA

Downtown Joplin is getting a new pizza parlor ... or should I say palace.

Work to restore a 104-year-old building at 122 Main St. has been under way for four months to create Palace Pizza.

The restaurant, owned by Robert Rice, will feature whole pizzas in a sit-down dining area and pizza by the slice for those who want to grab something and go. This should be a real asset for people who work downtown and have 30 minutes or so for lunch.

But Rice also wants it to be a place where families can come and order pizza, and have some fun, too.

The building’s ornate tin ceiling has been preserved. The upstairs has been converted into office space. A new glass storefront is being installed.

An old sign featuring room rates was found in the restoration. A room could be rented for $1 a day. Half a day would cost you 50 cents.

Rice said the building was once a hotel, a bar and a grocery store. The name of the restaurant comes from a time in the 1940s when the building was known as the Palace Recreation Hall.

Rice said he hopes to open the restaurant in May, barring unforeseen circumstances.

IT’S ABOUT TIME

The east side of the 1600 block of South Main Street features a building that in its day was a beehive of 14 small storefronts that supported several small businesses. In recent years, it’s become one of those Main Street properties in need of a major face-lift.

Well, it’s getting one and it looks like it’s going to be a significant improvement. The exterior “prison green’’ paint has been pressure washed, scraped and sanded to make way for a golden brown paint that will be highlighted with touches of white that will accentuate some design features on the brick building.

The building once had a flat awning that was suspended by cables or rods. It was removed for safety reasons. A new metal awning is being installed to replace that awning. It will feature lights that will illuminate the sidewalk below it. That will be a security improvement. The contractor is Spellman Construction.

Heather Grills, with Phoenix Fired Art, 1603 S. Main St., said she is thrilled about the makeover and how it could revive the storefronts along that side of Main Street.

“Not only are they doing it, they are doing it right,’’ she said.

The south side of the building, which faces the Family Dollar parking lot, will be home to a new ceramic mural that is being crafted at Phoenix Fired Art. The 4-foot-by-16-foot mural, “Rise of the Phoenix,’’ will depict the historical process of pottery-making as a reflection and celebration of the rebuilding of Joplin.

Community workshops to create the mural will be held April 19-20 at Phoenix Fired Art. Details: 417-437-9281.

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 wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417 623-8598.