The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Tornado: Columns

July 13, 2011

Anson Burlingame, columnist: A Joplin built for everyone

JOPLIN, Mo. — I first visited downtown Joplin about 13 years ago. In my opinion, it was ugly. Old, dilapidated or abandoned buildings, fast food businesses, filling stations, and general wear and tear. I was not impressed.

Over the past several years much progress has been made, particularly between Spiva Park and Seventh Street. In my view, we have an opportunity to accelerate that progress as we rebuild following the May 22 tornado.

The same thoughts apply to the 20th Street corridor and about 10 blocks on Range Line. Do it all or only tackle one corridor seems to be a choice now. Or we can simply rebuild as before with little innovation of change.

Just imagine if Main Street was a walking mall with a trolley car (that costs about a quarter to ride) connecting one end at Spiva Park to 32nd Street on the other end. Maybe it would even be a clean-energy trolley car or one that could be quickly modified to such new energy when the technology catches up.

Just imagine a green boulevard on 20th Street connecting Main Street and Range Line. Just imagine a “magnet area” on Range Line centered on 20th Street. Really dream and consider all three areas connected only by cheap public transportation a “Street Car of Imagination” with ample parking on both Range Line and Main Street from which all people can drive and then be connected to various “magnets.” And, of course, bike paths for those able to use them would be included in all three corridors. And those bike paths would connect to outlying areas as well, as is already being achieved.

No cars would be allowed in any of those new corridors. Only cheap public transportation, like a quarter a ride.

Such a vision does not exclude anyone. A well-built and maintained homeless shelter and treatment center for addiction can be included. Some of those areas could easily accommodate low-cost apartments as well as high-cost lofts. Put in a centrally located public housing center, again safe and well maintained and with cheap public transportation for residents to go shopping or eating wherever they so choose to go.

Mom-and-pop grocery stores and attractive pharmacies as well as a range of restaurants. How about a downtown movie theater and continued encouragement of a privately owned and operated cultural center complete with concert hall and live theater with ticket prices that almost all could afford.?

What a wonderful opportunity to “clean up” Joplin for everyone.

Anson Burlingame lives in Joplin. His blog “I’m Not Sure, Are You?” can be found at

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Tornado: Columns
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    June 26, 2014

  • Susan Redden: McCaskill praises Joplin cooperation

    At least two things she saw in Joplin need to be replicated in Washington, U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill said during a visit last week.
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    August 28, 2011

  • Mark Rohr, guest columnist: Miracle of the human spirit ever-pervasive since tornado

    Monday marks 100 days since the worst tornado in our country in the past 70 years tore through our community, leaving lost lives and destroyed property in its wake. As I have said before, that fateful day in late May will be the defining moment in all of our lives whether we want it to be or not.

    August 28, 2011

  • Ron Richard, guest columnist: Partnership can spur recovery

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    August 28, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Flocks expected for Chick-fil-A opening

    The stocking of the Chick-fil-A restaurant at 2127 S. Range Line Road is under way in preparation for a grand reopening on Thursday. The restaurant was among 25 or so eateries on Main Street and Range Line Road that were destroyed by the May 22 tornado.

    August 27, 2011

  • Susan Redden: State officials argue about disaster money

    Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is under fire from two different fronts, both relating to plans for a special legislative session in which the Joplin tornado and its economic impact will most certainly be a topic.

    August 21, 2011

  • Wally Kennedy: Walgreen’s to reopen both stores Monday

    Monday will be a big day for two of the three stores that Walgreen’s operates in Joplin. The Walgreen’s at 20th and Main streets sustained significant damage on May 22. It was at the north edge of the tornado’s damage zone. It has had a major makeover.

    August 20, 2011

  • Aspen Bowman Roger Nomer: Image a ‘revelation’ for photographer

    The sky looked dark, but nothing more unusual than a typical springtime storm.
    I was on duty May 22 at the Globe, and had just finished taking photos of Joplin High School’s graduation when the storm sirens started to sound at Missouri Southern State University.


    August 19, 2011 1 Photo

  • Jo Ellis: Small deeds will make a big impact

    A big, big thanks to all who have called, emailed or written to me saying they want to participate in Nature-Joplin (Nurture a Tree-Urban Reforestation Effort-Joplin) to help Joplin recover from the May 22 tornado that scoured the landscape.

    August 14, 2011

  • Andra Bryan Stefanoni: Safe room will always be reminder of May 22

    The afternoon of May 22, I emailed a story to my editor from my home office just before the tornado sirens sounded in Pittsburg.

    August 14, 2011