By Debby Woodin
Globe Staff Writer
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Hallowed ground where people were born, healed and died was given Tuesday by Mercy Health Systems as a legacy to Joplin’s future.
Lynn Britton, president and chief executive officer of Sisters of Mercy Health System, announced the gifts of land at the old St. John’s Regional Medical Center, destroyed by the May 22 tornado, for a new elementary school, Stained Glass Theater and a city museum.
While the site brings with it the memories of the works done there before the deadly storm and the tragedy that struck, Joplin can now dream of the good things that will come. “If we have more dreams than memories, then we are moving forward,” Britton told city and Mercy leaders. “Today we are about the dreams that will make our future.”
A 12-acre parcel at the site of the former Brady Rehabilitation Center was given to the Joplin School District for the future Irving and Emerson elementary schools, two schools that were destroyed in the storm.
“It’s going to be a wonderful, wonderful place,” said R-8 Superintendent C.J. Huff.
Greg Murdock, of the Stained Glass Theater that formerly was located next to the medical center, said of the gift of land for a new community theater: “Thank you does not seem like a big enough word,” for what he dreams as a bigger and better equipped theater.
A parcel of land is being given to the city for a tornado museum.
Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean said that the gift will not only benefit Joplin but those who come to help the recovery and those who will visit in the future.
“This is what makes Joplin everybody’s city,” she said.