The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

June 15, 2013

City manager to unveil $130 million recovery plan

JOPLIN, Mo. — Citing a need to provide indoor and updated recreational and athletic activities, Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr on Monday will unveil a proposal for $130 million in projects, including a $40 million fieldhouse that would address many of the needs cited by all segments of the community in past public forums.

It is part of the city’s proposed plan to spend a $113 million long-term recovery grant recently awarded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development through its Community Development Block Grant program and other available recovery funds.

A 28-page proposal for the spending plan will be presented by Rohr during a City Council meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

“With a variety of existing resources, and now an additional $113 million in Community Development Block Grant funds, our focus has shifted beyond minimizing loss to encouraging population growth through common sense, yet dynamic, long view efforts,” Rohr writes in the executive summary of the plan.

City administrators and staff have been working for eight weeks — since the announcement of the $113 million grant — to draft a recommendation for spending. Rohr had said earlier that the grant was unexpected because the city had last year received a $45 million CDBG award in response to an application the city submitted seeking funds to help with tornado recovery.

If approved by the City Council, Joplin will be a hub of construction from practically end to end nearly immediately.

“Due to the nature of the federal funding, the city will have a mere 24 months to complete the identified projects — time is of the essence,” Rohr writes.

Much of the fieldhouse proposal takes in the ideas residents have given the city in past public meetings, particularly in the 2010 “Blueprint for the Future” public forum.

Two other projects that would make a visible impact — a $500,000 Greentown neighborhood and a 20th Street streetscape program — also are on the list.

Overall, the plan addresses a number of infrastructure needs: installing and repairing sidewalks, both sanitary sewer and stormwater repair and replacement, streets projects with curb and gutter, and tree planing.

The streetscape, the green neighborhood, sidewalk and walking trails are all projects that were supported by public input given to the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team.

Jane Cage, chairman of the CART, said she has not yet seen the plan but believes it is an exciting prospect.

“The ideas are directly in line with what citizens said they wanted in the CART plan,” she said, especially the 20th Street streetscaping plan. “To go from a design to reality is really satisfying,” she said, if the plan obtains City Council approval.

“People want a city with a pleasing appearance. People want a city with recreational amenities. I think we’re open to becoming the kind of place we can be. I don’t feel like we have any limits right now.”

It would also provide money for mental health services and job training and education programs, part of that in cooperation with the Joplin School District.

The fieldhouse plan is part of a project Rohr identifies as the Joplin Commons and it is the largest single cost of all the projects.

It would provide amenities Joplin residents have suggested such as an indoor swimming pool suitable for competition swimming, basketball and volleyball courts, indoor soccer fields, a senior exercise and therapeutic swimming center, walking and sprint tracks.

“We are so excited about it,” said Jennifer Martucci, president of the Joplin Swim Team. She said the plan would make year-round USA swimming competition possible and the plan also would provide for therapeutic swimming. “It will greatly improve the quality of life for Joplin,” she said.

The commons plan includes a new $2.7 million Little League park and T-ball fields. A separate $750,000 indoor skatepark also would be erected.

Meeting rooms also would be built in the complex.

Rohr said the amenities are meant to address health and exercise concerns as well as recreational needs and serve as an attraction for people to move to Joplin. It would provide the amenities needed for the Joplin Parks and Recreation Department and the Joplin Sports Authority to provide athletic programs and events for Joplin children whose families cannot afford to compete with traveling teams. It would also allow them to program events that would bring visitors to Joplin.

Craig Hull, the director of the Joplin Sports Authority, said the commons proposal would create opportunities to stage many large events in Joplin.

“We support this proposal and hopefully it’s something that goes forward,” Hull said.

Cage said that if the $130 million proposal is carried out, “I believe that on May 22, 2016, the eyes of the world will be on Joplin as they come back to see what we were able to do since the tornado. This is a huge step in showing the world we were determined to come back as a better place than we were before. Out of an opportunity we never wanted, we were able to make good.”

Text Only
Local News
  • Pension funding improving, actuary reports

    An extra $1 million contribution by the city of Joplin last year to the Police and Firemen’s Pension Fund boosted the funding ratio of the plan by 2 percent, the plan’s actuary told the board Thursday morning.

    April 17, 2014

  • Special counsel to be appointed in ethics complaint against Neosho council members

    The Neosho Ethics Board on Wednesday voted to ask the City Council to appoint a special counsel to provide legal advice to the board’s remaining two members as they investigate a complaint against two members of the council.

    April 17, 2014

  • Mike Pound 2010.jpg Mike Pound: Will new Earth-like planet have better cable offerings?

    When I read that astronomers have discovered the most Earth-like planet yet, I had a couple of deep scientific questions. First: What’s the Wi-Fi like? And: Are their TV channels better than ours? Hey, I didn’t get an “Incomplete” in college astronomy for nothing.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Christian ministry plans Missouri camp expansion

    A nondenominational Christian ministry is planning a $21.5 million expansion on land it owns near Table Rock Lake in southwest Missouri, with a goal of offering gatherings beyond the traditional summer camps.

    April 17, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • 041714 Treble Makers.jpg Carl Junction ‘Treble Makers’ to sing at Springfield Cardinals’ stadium

    Next month, 75 Carl Junction sixth-grade students will sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Hammons Field before a Springfield Cardinals game. And with more than 600 parents, family members and other residents planning to attend, the May 3 event has been dubbed “Carl Junction Day.”

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Public hearing set on posed TIF district

    Financial details of a proposed new tax increment financing district for the Silver Creek Galleria area will be discussed in detail at an April 28 public hearing, members of the city’s TIF Commission were told Thursday. Chris Williams, a TIF attorney representing the city of Joplin, told the panel the Thursday meeting was intended to walk commissioners through the public hearing steps.

    April 17, 2014

  • Volunteer projects spark two bills in Jefferson City

     moving through the Missouri House and Senate were inspired by a volunteer project in Carl Junction last year that stalled over a question of whether those volunteers had to be paid prevailing wage under Missouri law. “This bill is very simple. All it says is if someone is a volunteer, they won’t be forced to be paid prevailing wage,” state Rep. Charlie Davis, R-Webb City, told lawmakers during a hearing on his bill last week.

    April 17, 2014

  • Chairman of Neosho Ethics Board resigns

    The chairman of the Neosho Ethics Board unexpectedly resigned on Thursday as the board investigates a complaint against Neosho City Council members David Ruth and Steve Hart.

    April 17, 2014

  • CWEP receives top honor from national power group

    The Carthage Water and Electric Plant has received the top award for reliable electrical service from the American Public Power Association.

    April 17, 2014

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

Would you use a community safe room when the area is under a tornado warning?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter