DUQUESNE, Mo. —
In many ways, the theme Duquesne has adopted for its part of the Walk of Unity on Tuesday is a good description, Mayor Denny White said, of the residents and the volunteers who came to help after the May 22 tornado.
Of the approximately 750 homes in Duquesne, 450 had some sort of damage, including more than 200 that were demolished by the EF-5 tornado. Nine people died in the storm in Duquesne.
Most of the damaged homes have been repaired, and building permits have been issued for projects to replace many of the homes that were destroyed.
“To their credit, most homeowners are building back bigger and better than before,” White said. “We couldn’t have made it through the last year without the hard work of our residents and everyone who came to help.”
So, Duquesne has adopted “going the extra mile” for its part of the walk, representing the extra distance residents will travel and the extra effort that has taken place there in the past year.
White said residents will start at 1:30 p.m. at the traffic roundabout at 20th Street and Duquesne Road. They will walk along 20th Street and then along 17th Street, joining the start of the Joplin walk at 2:30 p.m. in the Wal-Mart parking lot at 15th Street and Range Line Road. The 3.7-mile walk along the path of the tornado through Joplin will end at Cunningham Park.
“We’re inviting residents and anyone else to join us and walk as far as they want,” White said. “Southwest Missouri Bank is providing T-shirts that say ‘Going the extra mile.’”
Terry Ingram, city clerk, said the city has issued building permits for about 150 new homes, and about 50 have been completed so far. She said the city lost between 30 and 40 free-standing businesses, in addition to businesses operated in residents’ homes. Building permits have been issued for projects to replace 35 of the demolished businesses; 15 are complete.
One of the businesses that was leveled belonged to the mayor. Denny’s Auto Sales has been rebuilt at its original location, 2301 Duquesne Road.
“We moved until we could build back,” White said. “We opened our new building Aug. 31. Homes and businesses are back. We’re rolling along now.”
He said workers hired by the Workforce Investment Board and funded by the federal Department of Labor are cleaning up the remnants of tornado debris along city streets.
And, he said, officials are allowing Duquesne City Hall to be used as a meeting place for post-storm support groups being run by Ozark Center and the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
“Those just started,” White said. “For all the help we’ve received from other people and groups, sharing our building is the least we can do.”
At one point after the storm, the hall contained a food pantry and a clothing distribution center.
“We’ve had a lot of help from Joplin, and from emergency workers and volunteers who came from all over the place,” White said. “One of the days when we were feeding volunteers and workers, we fed over 700.”
ON TUESDAY, 20th Street will remain open. Police will help with traffic control along the route, Duquesne Mayor Denny White said.