The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

October 24, 2012

Master developer, recovery committee to discuss proposals

By Debby Woodin

JOPLIN, Mo. — Residents who want to know more about Joplin’s redevelopment plans are being invited to attend an informational meeting Monday.

The private master development firm hired by the city will have representatives on hand for two sessions — 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. — in the basement conference room at City Hall, 602 S. Main St.

David Wallace, chief executive officer of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners, will make a presentation on potential development projects.

“We will be giving an update on where we are and where we’re headed,” Wallace said. He has given presentations to community groups including the Rotary Club and the Ozark Gateway Association of Realtors.

After the presentation, which will last 30 to 45 minutes, “I’m looking for the citizens to come back and say what they like and what they don’t like about the projects,” he said.

The firm will have tables set up with displays about the individual projects at which people can learn more about each one and can fill out cards with their remarks and preferences, he said.

Wallace said he wants to use an approach similar to that used by the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team. “We want the citizens to give input into the process” and on which projects they support and what locations they prefer for those projects, he said.

“We don’t want it to be a mayor’s project, a city manager’s project or a developer’s project,” Wallace said. “We want it to be a community project, so that residents have input into what is built.”

Representatives of the Citizens Advisory Recovery Team also will participate in the meeting to ask residents what type of community tornado memorial they would like to have, he said.

Wallace Bajjali has proposed about $800 million worth of development projects encompassing housing, retail and commercial expansion, entertainment, and SPARK, the downtown arts and performance complex proposed by City Manager Mark Rohr.

A meeting also is planned for Thursday, Nov. 8, regarding the firm’s proposal to establish a tax increment financing district in the tornado zone.

Wallace said that meeting is intended to be an educational effort about the purpose of such financing.

“Tax increment funding is a funding tool. It is not a new tax,” Wallace said. “It will help fund projects in the TIF plan. We want to sit down with people who live in the district to educate them that it does not adversely affect them. We want to let people put their mind to rest that this is not a tax. It’s not anything that will affect them adversely; if anything, it will affect them in a positive way.”

30 meetings

THE WALLACE BAJJALI FIRM intends to hold about 30 public meetings by the end of the year to discuss proposals and projects with residents.