The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

February 11, 2013

Land purchases on agenda of redevelopment board

By Debby Woodin

JOPLIN, Mo. — The Joplin Redevelopment Corp. is expected to agree to land deals today for tornado redevelopment projects.

David Wallace, CEO of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, the city’s contracted master developer, told the City Council on Monday night that the board will be asked in a closed session today to agree to $8 million in land purchases for the projects. The council held a work session to hear an update on the status of the $806 million in projects.

A meeting of the redevelopment board has been scheduled for 4 p.m. today with much of the same agenda it had on Jan. 29. At that meeting, board members took no action after they learned there was no public risk insurance in case an error would occur in the board’s transactions. The board also has to have liability insurance on any property it holds to protect itself against any claims that could arise, such as injuries.

Wallace said Monday night that since the city has obtained public risk coverage, the board can go ahead with putting agreements in place to buy land. Wallace told the council that all of the insurance should be in force sometime this week.

An appraisal of the 6.5-acre site where the library is to be located on Connecticut Avenue from 18th Street to 20th Street is to be done this week, and representatives of the Wallace firm are continuing to talk to individual residents in the area to answer questions they have about the changes that will take place.

Wallace told the council that another project that will soon will be in the works is a senior transitional housing complex at 26th Street and McClelland Boulevard. That will offer a range of housing from patio homes to assisted living in apartments to secure accommodations for people who are memory-impaired.

On the agenda for today’s meeting of the redevelopment board in addition to the land purchases is discussion on whether board members will agree to co-sign the application for a $20 million grant from the Economic Development Administration, a federal agency that provides money to help distressed cities. The City Council on Feb. 4 approved a resolution supporting the application for the money and agreeing to use it to fund the library project. Wallace said he expects to hear an answer on the grant around March 1.

The board also will be asked today to ratify a loan agreement with a consortium of local banks for $8 million in financing for land purchases until bonds can be issued on future revenues from a new tax increment financing district.

Meeting place

THE JOPLIN REDEVELOPMENT CORP. meets at 4 p.m. today at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.