The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

April 21, 2012

Wally Kennedy: Sun shining on 26th and Main

You have heard that saying: “We’re making hay while the sun shines.’’

Well, that’s exactly what the public works department of the city of Joplin is doing in the area of 26th and Main streets.

The gist of that saying is that those involved are being highly productive for a limited period of time when the opportunity is present.

The opportunity, in this instance, was created by the May 22 tornado. With the landscape stripped bare, the city can tackle a major infrastructure project and have virtually no impact on anyone. And, it can get the job done in short order.

The city has installed huge tiles to carry stormwater away from the intersection, which often floods when a downpour occurs. The tiles are being placed underground in the alley on the west side of Main Street. The water captured by these improvements will flow into a branch of Tin Cup Creek.

The city also is taking steps to correct another water problem at the site. Motorists often see water emerging from Main Street just north of the intersection. They think it’s a leaking water main. It’s not. It’s a natural seep. It’s a problem when the seep is flowing in winter and water freezes on the street. The city’s work will attempt to fix that problem.

While that is taking place, the city is taking steps to realign 26th Street at Main, which is out of kilter. There’s good news to report on that front. The owners of the Taco Bell property at the southeast corner of the intersection are now talking with the city about helping out with that realignment.

No one knows where those talks will lead, but I’m so hopeful that Taco Bell now understands it can play a significant role in helping make Joplin a better place to live after the storm. We cannot lose sight of that objective.

Just envision what that area might look like a year or so from now. A new Taco Bell has been constructed and landscaped. The interchange has been straightened. A new restaurant, now in the planning stages, will be erected on the property directly south of the Taco Bell. Who knows what could be in that area by this time next year?

The work at 26th and Main is not the only place where the city is improving infrastructure in the tornado zone. This is a good example of smart thinking. Let the sun shine.

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