The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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February 19, 2014

Joplin prize provides spiffy paint downtown

JOPLIN, Mo. — It’s amazing what a little paint can do.

“It looks good,” said Jef Alvandi, owner of the M&M Bistro, 407 S. Main St., where painters on Wednesday were putting the final touches on a piece of trim.

“They painted up there, over there and under there,” he said. “It looks fresh.”

What Alvandi was most happy with was the painting of the unoccupied storefronts north and south of his Mediterranean restaurant, which is about to celebrate its one-year anniversary.

“Doing just that makes the whole block look better,” he said.

Across the street, Bunny Newton, with Newton’s Jewelry at Fifth and Main streets, was happy with the fresh coat of paint underneath the gray metal awning that covers his building.

“We repainted the whole thing 1 1/2 years ago, but we needed to paint that little underhang beneath it,” he said. “They’re making the downtown look so nice. I’m tickled to death about it.”

Twenty-three storefronts from Fourth Street to Sixth Street on Main Street have received fresh paint from a palette of 22 colors that were picked by paint designers with Benjamin Moore paints. The cost of the paint and the street-level painting is being covered by the company as part of its “Main Street Matters” program.

Joplin was one of 20 cities in the U.S. and Canada that won Main Street remakes as part of an online contest conducted by Benjamin Moore from May 16 until July 30 last year. There were 100 contestants.

The owners of the downtown businesses could choose from a range of subdued colors, such as Mozart blue, classic burgundy or Sandy Hook gray. The palette may be viewed at Spectrum Paint, 1221 S. Illinois Ave.

Kelly Sinatra, spokeswoman for Benjamin Moore, said: “The palette colors were chosen by our color and design team based on the colors that were already there and the history of the town.

“We think it’s a really beautiful palette, and we hope it serves as a springboard for future beautification.”

Jeff Neal, with Neal Group Construction, is the lead contractor for the Benjamin Moore project. His company has revitalized many of Joplin’s downtown storefronts.

“We’re still working on five of them, but we should have those done this week,” he said. “Some have chosen new colors, while others have decided to refresh an existing color. Others did not need anything because they have been recently remodeled.”

Churches, nonprofit groups and chain operations were not eligible for the project.

The Downtown Joplin Alliance played a big part in helping Joplin win the contest via social media awareness.

“We are ecstatic about the face-lift we are getting through the ‘Main Street Matters’ program,” said Trisha Patton, head of the alliance. “A lot of these buildings have been renovated in the last 10 years, but a new layer of paint can make all of the difference.”

In some instances, the historic character of a building has been enhanced. The lower stonework on the Christman Building at Fifth and Main streets, now called the Cosmopolitan Event Center, had been painted. The paint was removed to expose the granite base, Patton said.

“That helped preserve the historic character of that building,” she said.

Tour today

MAYOR MELODEE COLBERT-KEAN and representatives of Benjamin Moore will check out the paint job at 2 p.m. today. The tour will start in the lobby at City Hall and will proceed from Sixth Street to Fourth Street. A Third Thursday celebration is planned in connection with the tour.

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