By Debby Woodin
JOPLIN, Mo. —
Last year’s tornado nearly wiped out Red-Wood Development Co.
That is one reason that turning the keys over Wednesday to the owner of a new home built by the company was a special occasion for both Red-Wood and the buyer, Tara Atherton.
“This is very special for us at the company,” owner Rick Schroeder said at an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony at 2527 S. Grand Ave. “Our company was devastated by the tornado. We lost our home office and 90 percent of our properties.”
In the time since the May 22, 2011, storm, Red-Wood has rebuilt three complexes totaling 288 apartments, has erected a 120-unit apartment complex at Webb City called The Plaza, and has built 120 houses and six duplexes.
The Atherton house is the seventh of 38 houses the company is constructing as an affordable housing project it calls Union City Homes within the tornado zone. It is one of the housing projects financed with a portion of $100 million in tax credits awarded a year ago by the Missouri Housing Development Commission to Joplin as part of the disaster aid designated by Gov. Jay Nixon.
Atherton, a hair stylist and a single mother of three children, said she wanted three things in a new home. One was a storm shelter. Her son, 9, survived the tornado at his grandparents’ house at 22nd Street and Iowa Avenue. The twister demolished the house except a lower part of a closet where the boy took cover with his grandparents, Atherton said.
She also wanted a yard where the kids could play and a garage so she could drive in and not have to park outside.
“Those three things are huge on my list, and I got them all,” she said. She also was able to buy a four-bedroom house that she described as “very well put together.”
Schroeder said the company will build the 38 houses on scattered sites from Virginia Avenue to Grand Avenue, south of 22nd Street. There will be 32 three-bedroom houses and six four-bedroom homes, each with two bathrooms and a storm shelter.
“Every homeowner will have the security of knowing they have a storm shelter,” Schroeder said. “The master bedroom closet is a shelter.”
“I was really grateful for the storm shelter,” Atherton said.
Schroeder said the Red-Wood company has a long history of homebuilding in Joplin, having been established here by his father in 1976.
“We’re very proud to be in Joplin and be a part of the recovery, and the rebuilding for a better tomorrow,” he said. “We’re in the business of providing homes, and we felt it was our duty to step up to the plate and provide some affordable homes.”
Another of the projects that received the state tax credits, the Delaware Duplex Community, has finished building 20 duplex units at 20th Street and Maryland Avenue.
Other projects being constructed with tax-credit help are:
• Canyon Trails Townhomes, 52 units near 1300 W. 17th St. in Webb City.
• Hope Cottages, low-income houses being built on scattered lots between Jackson and Grand avenues from 20th Street to 26th Street.
• Eagle Ridge, a 40-unit, low-income apartment complex at 611 W. 25th St.
• Parkwood Senior Housing, apartments for seniors at 1300 N. Range Line Road.
• Forest Park Apartments, one- and two-story row houses near 29th Street and McClelland Boulevard.
• Hampshire Terrace II, 2021 Hampshire Terrace.
PEOPLE WHO ARE INTERESTED in an affordable housing program may contact Red-Wood Development Inc. at 624-4144, or a bank or mortgage lender.