The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

February 3, 2013

Neighbors in Sunset Ridge subdivision seek city’s help in cleaning up housing lots damaged by 2011 tornado

JOPLIN, Mo. — Stephen Menke knows firsthand the toll that Joplin’s 2011 tornado took.

He and his family were on their way home when it hit. They pulled into a neighbor’s driveway three houses away from theirs to wait it out in their car.

That car was destroyed along with many of the houses nearby, including the Menkes’. It also wiped out Menke’s dental office on Range Line Road.

But Menke regards himself as lucky. His family was unharmed, and his house at 3401 Sunset Drive was repaired in six months. He also has a new office now.

But he and some of his neighbors in the Sunset Ridge subdivision want the city to help them take care of what they consider dangerous structures still left in the neighborhood. They say property owners should have been able to fix some of the problems or at least clean them up by now, more than 20 months after the tornado.

Menke and several other Sunset Ridge residents have asked to speak to the Joplin City Council tonight about the issue.

Menke and neighbors Dan McCreary, 3131 Sunset Drive, and Bryan Jones, 3415 Sunset Drive, met Friday to discuss the status of their neighborhood near 32nd Street and Schifferdecker Avenue. Several city representatives also met with them.

‘Help them help us’

“We have a list of unrepaired properties,” Menke said. “We’re not mad at the city. We need their help in getting them cleaned up, and we wanted to know how we could help them help us.”

There are 75 lots in the subdivision; 55 of the homes were damaged or destroyed. Nine structures that the neighbors consider to be problems remain, and they are owned by investors, McCreary said.

Residents and visitors are greeted at the Schifferdecker Avenue entrance to the subdivision by two lots where concrete foundations remain, even though storm victims elsewhere have been required to remove them.

David Hertzberg, the city’s public works director who met with the residents Friday, told them that those two properties are in limbo because the city is negotiating to buy some of the land for the widening of Schifferdecker Avenue.

Two other properties that concern some of the neighborhood’s residents are owned by building contractor Alden Hawke.

“We’re probably part of the reason there’s an issue, and it is probably miscommunication with the neighbors,” Hawke said. “I’ve been meeting with the city concerning our plans to rebuild, but it hasn’t been communicated with the neighbors.”

Hawke said he is preserving one lot with a basement, and a second lot with a foundation and a swimming pool because they can be reused, saving on future rebuilding costs.

Leslie Jones, the city’s finance director who has been heading the city’s efforts to deal with property issues, told the residents on Friday that they should call the city and report the properties they believe are not in compliance with cleanup requirements. She said the city can then determine if the property has been referred for action by the Building Board of Appeals. That board has been trying to work with property owners, but it can order demolition if it does not get results from the owners voluntarily.

“Make sure we’re aware of it, and we’ll see if it’s before the building board. Then we have to let the process work,” even though it can take time, Jones said.

Addressing council

Five residents of Sunset Ridge have asked to speak to the Joplin City Council at its meeting at 6 p.m. today at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

Text Only
Local News
  • 072814_jd anderson.jpg VIDEO: Noel strongman advances on talent show

    The past week has been busier than normal for Noel resident J.D. Anderson. Members of the production crew for NBC’s “America’s Got Talent” told him they have shot more footage of him than of other contestants for the next episode. “They said I have the busiest schedule of anyone this week,” Anderson told the Globe in a phone interview Friday. “There’s so many fun things you can do with B-roll as a strongman.”

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • AndraBryanStefanoni.jpg Andra Bryan Stefanoni: ‘Annie’ production is a family thing

    There’s a twist to this week’s production of “Annie” at Memorial Auditorium. The show, a beloved classic tale of an orphan girl in search of a family, is full of real-life family members.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • 072514 Band Box.jpg Jo Ellis: Carthage icon continues to play in local restaurant

    Chicago Coin’s Band-Box, also known as “Strike Up the Band,” has been a Carthage icon since the mid- to late 1950s. Any customer who frequented Red’s Diner, or Ray’s Cafe, and now the Pancake Hut is familiar with the pulsating rhythms and movements of this mechanical device.

    July 27, 2014 2 Photos

  • SusanRedden.jpg Susan Redden: Gubernatorial hopefuls make area appearances

    Three potential candidates for Missouri governor in 2016 made stops in the Joplin area this past week.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Anti-landfill group seeks grand jury probe

    As more than 200 people filed into Riverton High School on Sunday to attend an anti-landfill group meeting, many stopped to sign a petition asking the Cherokee County District Court to summon a grand jury to investigate how land was acquired by the city of Galena for a proposed landfill.

    July 27, 2014

  • shoalcreekcleanup.jpg Wildcat Glades center puts on service day at Shoal Creek

    About 20 people on Saturday pulled trash out of Shoal Creek as they paddled in canoes and kayaks from Grand Falls to Zan’s Creekside Campground in Joplin.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Hearts & Hammers plans annual home repair event

    Since 2003, volunteers with Hearts & Hammers of Southwest Missouri have made free improvements to more than 170 homes owned by the elderly, physically disabled, and single parent or low-income families.

    July 26, 2014

  • Money clouds farm fight

    For much of the summer, while the campaign surrounding “right to farm” has been focused on its impact on “small, family farmers,” the bulk of the money pouring into the fight has come from big agriculture interests.

    July 26, 2014

  • jameswelbornupdate.jpg Local teen completes half of solo river trip

    James Welborn, a recent Webb City High School graduate, has reached the halfway point of his solo canoe trip down the Mississippi River — just in time to celebrate his 19th birthday with family.

    July 26, 2014 1 Photo

  • Neosho police warn residents of phone scam

    The Neosho Police Department has received complaints from residents saying someone impersonating a lieutenant from the Newton County Sheriff’s Office warrants division has been calling them.

    July 26, 2014

Must Read


A new provision by the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows qualifying districts with high percentages of students on food assistance to allow all students to eat free breakfasts and lunches. Would you agree with this provision?

     View Results
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter