The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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June 16, 2012

Construction surpasses $635 million since tornado

— More than $635 million in building permits has been issued by the city of Joplin in the year since the May 22, 2011, tornado, according to Steve Cope, the city’s building and code supervisor. The permits cover all residential and commercial construction.

That total includes a $269.4 million permit issued last month to Sisters of Mercy Health System for construction of a new hospital at 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard.

It is the single largest building permit in Joplin’s history.

That $635 million does not include $185 million in estimated reconstruction and new building costs for the Joplin school district.

In the one-year period after the April 27, 2011, tornado at Tuscaloosa, Ala., that city issued $279.9 million in building permits for all commercial and residential projects, according to Meredith Lynch, public relations coordinator for Tuscaloosa.

But comparing the recovery of the two cities may be problematic.

Tuscaloosa did not lose a nine-story medical center as Joplin did.

Work on the new Mercy Hospital Joplin began in January. The 825,000-square-foot hospital, which won’t be completed until mid-2015, has a total construction budget of $335 million, according to the contractor, McCarthy Building Cos. of St. Louis.

There are other differences (and similarities) between the two cities.

The tornado in Tuscaloosa, an EF-4 with wind speeds of 190 mph, cut a 5.9-mile swath across the city. The tornado at times was more than a mile wide. It damaged or destroyed 5,362 buildings and 356 businesses, causing more than $2 billion in estimated damages. It killed 52 people and injured more than 1,200.

The tornado in Joplin, an EF-5 with wind speeds of 200 mph, cut a 6-mile path across the city. The tornado was a mile wide at times. It damaged or destroyed 7,500 buildings and 553 businesses, causing more than $2 billion in estimated damages. It killed 161 people and injured more than 1,150.



Other differences

Tuscaloosa, Ala., is spread out over 60 square miles. Joplin covers 31.4 square miles. Tuscaloosa had a population of approximately 90,000 in 2010. Joplin had a population of approximately 50,000 in 2010.

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