The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 27, 2013

Wally Kennedy: Roller rink could reopen in a few weeks

JOPLIN, Mo. — It won’t be long before Joplin is rolling again.

Roller City of Joplin, the former Keeley’s Silver Wheels, 2800 E. 24th St., is in the final stages of restoration after taking a big hit in the tornado.

Rick Carson, who acquired the property in March, believes he can reopen the rink in mid-August — just in time for the start of school.

On Friday, I got a tour of the building, which from the outside doesn’t appear to be that large. That impression changes completely once you get inside. It’s huge.

The tornado ripped away much of the roof and pulled away the back 60 feet of the building. That let the elements inside. Moisture warped the wood floor beyond repair. I got to see a photo of the floor before it was removed. The warping looked like waves on a lake.

The concrete floor below the wood floor will be coated with a special covering to permit the rink to reopen. In time, a new wood floor will be put down.

The inside of the rink, which was constructed in 1973, is getting a complete makeover. An indoor playground for kids is being added.

To stay on top of the progress, check out rollercity.com.

NEW TO JOPLIN

Signature Granite, a new shop that specializes in granite countertops, tile and hardwood flooring has opened in a storefront at 1229 S. Range Line Road that has been managed for years by Kent Eastman, with Keller Williams.

You can’t miss the place. There are big slabs of granite in multiple colors positioned in front of the store. But you need to go inside to check out the really cool stuff.

There’s ceramic and glass tile for flooring, backsplashes and bathrooms in a bunch of styles and colors. If you’re looking to put wood flooring in a basement, you need to check out the tile that looks like wood. It fooled me.

This is the third store for Shane and Krista Lake. The others are in Neosho and Carl Junction. Hours are from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday.

MORE TREES, PLEASE

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of watching workers plant hundreds of trees in Campbell Parkway. This past week, I had the distinct displeasure of seeing hundreds of trees uprooted along Hearnes Boulevard in south Joplin.

It got me thinking — and that’s always a dangerous thing — that if we are not in a continual state of planting trees in this city, we are falling behind. Despite the fact that we have been planting trees all along, the historical evidence for this observation is overwhelming.

Let’s go back a few years. At one time, the streets of Joplin were lined with elm trees. They created a cathedral-like canopy overhead. Then came Dutch elm disease. They were wiped out.

In 1973, Joplin was hit by a cyclonic windstorm that downed more than 3,000 trees. McClelland Park — the park my family visited because of its proximity to our home — was decimated. In the years since then, we have experienced devastating ice storms that created opportunities for invasive insects to do their dirty work.

Then came the tornado, which took out thousands of trees. For me personally, that loss is best represented by the cross of trees that stood on the north side of Joplin High School. Those trees were planted by Superintendent Roi Wood some 50 years ago. Talk about a visionary.

Healthy trees across the city were then assaulted by last year’s drought. The heat was so severe that the bark on mature trees to split open to let the overheated moisture inside escape. I lost no trees to the tornado, but I lost half a dozen trees to the drought.

Now, economic progress is taking its toll. I’m all for progress, but it comes at a price to the environment — our environment. I had always hoped that Hearnes Boulevard would exist as a green entryway into Joplin. I predict now that it is destined to become the next South Range Line Road.

Recently, some proposals to transform East 20th Street into a green corridor connecting Main Street to Range Line Road were put on the table. Citizen reaction to the proposals was mixed, in part, because they slowed traffic flow on this important corridor. The concerns are legitimate. But what we need to do is figure out what works best for us and then get on with it, and I mean full throttle.

Because if we are not planting trees and regreening Joplin, we are falling further and further behind.

If you have news about something happening on Range Line Road or Main Street, dial 417-623-3480, ext. 7250; or send an e-mail to wkennedy@joplinglobe.com; or send a fax to Wally Kennedy at 417-623-8598.

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