By Wally Kennedy
JOPLIN, Mo. —
At this time last year, Greg Edster was wondering if his concrete company would survive another year.
“There was not much of anything to do,” he said. “I figured we would have some trucks sitting.”
There are no trucks sitting now, the general manager of G&H Redi-Mix, of Joplin, said Tuesday.
“We’ve added five new trucks and hired some drivers,” Edster said. “We have pulled in drivers from our other plants. Our business is up 50 percent.”
Increased demand for concrete is reflected in the more than 3,900 repair and rebuilding permits issued by the city of Joplin since the May 22 tornado. Those permits now total about $302 million.
The pace slowed during January and February, but favorable weather kept up the demand for building materials. In January, the city issued permits totaling almost $14.1 million; in February, the permits totaled $19.1 million.
Said Edster: “We had such a mild winter we got a lot of work done, a lot we would not normally be able to do. It really helped everybody to continue working through the winter.”
In the previous seven months, construction totaled $268.5 million, based on city permits, for an average of about $38.4 million per month.
About 640 permits for new homes and 2,982 permits for residential repairs and rebuilding projects have been issued since the tornado. More than 73 permits have been issued for apartment complex buildings, although no figures were available for the number of rental units. About 250 permits have been filed for rebuilding, repairing or constructing businesses.
The permits are for all construction in Joplin, not just for homes, businesses and other buildings that were in the path of the tornado.
See where permits have been issued to rebuild housing. Search the database.
Browse the map to see where construction permits have been issued for building new housing.
Permits are coded by construction value:
Red - under $50,000 | Yellow - $50,000 to $100,000 | Blue - $100,000 to $200,000 | Green - more than $200,000
Mark Rohr, city manager, said he is pleased with the progress he sees in the city.
“To date, we have approximately 59 percent of the homes impacted by the storm under permit,” he said. “I am very pleased with this number, and want to personally thank all those individuals and families demonstrating their commitment to Joplin evidenced by those numbers.”
Rohr said the city is working to bring more resources, tools and plans to bear to continue the progress.
“My biggest concern is that we continue to stay together as a community and not get sidetracked,” he said. “By staying focused on what is important, we can further Joplin’s reputation as the standard bearer of communities for disaster response and we can reach that 100 percent mark for permits, and more importantly for actual repaired and rebuilt homes.”
In January, residential construction outpaced both commercial and apartment construction. The city issued 53 permits, totaling $5.61 million, for new residential construction. Residential repairs totaled $1.74 million. Commercial construction totaled $3 million. Apartment construction totaled $3.73 million.
Among the major projects in January were permits for the new Derma Tech building at 2935 E. 18th St., $315,472; for apartments at 1736 W. 22nd St., $3.7 million; and for Cellular Mobile Telephones, 1630 S. Range Line Road, $400,000.
In February, commercial construction far outpaced residential construction. Commercial construction totaled $12.1 million, with 21 permits. The city issued 28 permits, totaling $3.93 million, for new residential construction. Residential repairs totaled $1 million. Apartment construction totaled $2.1 million.
Among the major projects in February were permits for the new AT&T Store, $650,000; for the utility plant for a temporary hospital operated by Mercy Hospital Joplin at 2817 S. St. John’s Blvd., $4 million; for repairs to the pool in Cunningham Park, $600,000; for infill of the sixth floor of the Gary & Donna Hall Tower at Freeman Hospital West, $4 million; and for construction of Andy’s Frozen Custard, 2934 S. Range Line Road, $600,000.
Edster said his concrete company and three others that operate in the Joplin market should be able to produce enough concrete to cover customer orders when some big projects get under way later this year. The big project will be the foundation for the new Mercy Hospital Joplin at 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard.
“After the tornado, the need for concrete kept gaining steam,” Edster said. “We expect it to go on this way for three to four more years.”
NEARLY 1,600 demolition permits have been issued since May 22 in Joplin.