The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 29, 2012

Master developer session draws crowd

By Debby Woodin

—  More than 100 people came to City Hall today for an afternoon session on the master developer’s proposals for Joplin’s redevelopment.

Residents also were asked to post comments and were encouraged to ask questions about each of the projects that make up the $800 million proposal by Wallace Bajjali Development Partners of Sugar Land, Texas.

“I think it’s a great idea,”  resident and business owner George Bostick said of the overall proposal to build various kinds of housing, a performing arts complex, a medical education complex and various types of retail development. “I hope they get private enterprise involved in it,” and not rely strictly  on government funding and city backing, Bostick said of the projects.

Bostick, formerly of 3M Business Products and an owner of restaurants and car washes, said the projects appear to be a golden opportunity for Joplin, which he said lacked those opportunities when he moved here 43 years ago.

Resident Bill Pate questioned whether some of the projects, such as a new library proposed for a site on 20th street, would be accessible to the senior citizens and low-income residents on the north side of town who do not have transportation and cannot afford to ride the city’s Sunshine Lamp trolley.

The site where St. John’s Regional Medical Center was destroyed by the 2011 EF-5 tornado is favored by those who are posting ideas for a tornado memorial. The input is sought by the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team.

Another session is set for 6 to 8 p.m. today in the basement of City Hall, 602 S. Main St.