The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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July 8, 2012

Council to hear proposals for redevelopment effort

JOPLIN, Mo. — Proposals for $800 million in projects ranging from housing construction to a performing arts complex will be outlined to the Joplin City Council in a work session tonight.

The array of plans will be part of a presentation by Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, of Sugar Land, Texas, a firm that has been contracted by the city to serve as the master developer to help with rebuilding and improvements throughout Joplin in the wake of the May 22, 2011, tornado.

City Manager Mark Rohr said the steps, and potential projects, represent “a great opportunity for Joplin.”

“Ever since I’ve been here, people in Joplin have told me they want more good-paying jobs, more things to do and a better quality of life,” he said. “I’m not suggesting these projects will bring everything that we desire, but I think this process will take our community to new levels and set the stage for that to happen.”

David Wallace, CEO of the firm, will present the proposed projects at an informal work session at 5:45 p.m. in City Council chambers. He recently gave a synopsis of the plans to the Joplin 353 Redevelopment Corp. The city board arranges the purchases of property for city projects and, under the Wallace Bajjali proposal, would become a land bank for redevelopment.

Among the list of projects mentioned as possibilities is a newly created housing program that would allow income-eligible residents to buy houses valued at $115,000 for $70,000, using grants to pay the difference. Also proposed are two mixed-use projects, which involve constructing buildings that will provide retail and office space on the main floor with lofts upstairs. Wallace also mentioned a project for medical offices and a clinic, a government complex for state and federal offices, and a cultural arts center.

Officials of the firm compiled the proposals after analyzing what was lost in the tornado, studying city capital improvement projects, and the wants and needs relayed by the public to the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team.

“They started with the CART — the projects suggested by citizens — and they listened to officials and representatives from throughout the community in terms of other ideas, and they met constantly with lots of different people reviewing ideas and looking to form partnerships,” Rohr said.

The proposed projects also will be the focus of meetings in the community, to get input from the public.

“That is supposed to start very soon after our meeting on Monday,” the city manager said last week.

Recommendations to hire a master developer came from members of the CART, city administrators, and other community leaders.

Rohr said residents are invited to attend the meeting, or can watch it on television. Council work sessions normally are not televised, but officials made arrangements for the broadcast so all residents who are interested could see the presentation.

Broadcast

The meeting will start at 5:45 p.m. KGCS-TV will broadcast the meeting live and will offer a rebroadcast at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. KGCS programming is seen on digital channel 22, and on regional cable television systems including Cable One, Mediacom and Suddenlink. The station is a service of the Department of Communication at Missouri Southern State University.

 

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