The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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September 2, 2013

Construction in Joplin since 2011 tornado exceeds $800 million

JOPLIN, Mo. — About $837 million has been spent on construction in Joplin since the 2011 tornado, and more than 1,100 new homes have been started.

Those numbers come from building permit statistics released periodically by the city; the latest numbers were released recently for April through July.

Crystal Harrington, head of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri, said initiatives such as the Joplin Housing Assistance Program, which is being kicked off this fall, will give a boost to more home construction.

“These are middle-income grants for the down payment and closing costs on a house,” she said of the program. “If 20 percent down is needed to construct a home, these grants could amount to $20,000 to $30,000 each.

“This could help a family making $60,000 or less build a brand new house,” she said, noting that the program could help build 400 new homes. “Some restrictions apply, but we feel a lot of people will qualify. Things could snowball from here.”

The construction figures cover all work throughout the city, not just the tornado zone, although much of the work that went on elsewhere in the city was either directly or indirectly tied to the storm.

When Joplin closed out fiscal year 2011, it had issued $192.4 million in building permits, the vast majority of which were issued after the tornado on May 22 of that year. In the months before the tornado, building permits were averaging about $2.1 million per month, according to city records. About $177.7 million in construction came after the storm.

In fiscal 2012, Joplin issued building permits totaling $554.8 million, which included the permit for the new Mercy Hospital Joplin at 50th Street and Hearnes Boulevard. That permit was for $269.4 million — the single largest permit in city history. The total construction budget for the 825,0000-square-foot hospital is about $335 million, according to the contractor, McCarthy Building Cos.

For fiscal 2013, building permits totaled $104.6 million as of July.

The city’s fiscal year runs from Nov. 1 to Oct. 31.

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