The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

May 2011 Joplin tornado

October 15, 2012

Joplin's master developer says land purchases to start soon

JOPLIN, Mo. — A new housing program for Joplin that helps buyers build equity while keeping payments low will be rolled out within the next two months, Joplin’s master developer told the City Council on Monday night.

“We are well under way with this,” said David Wallace, president of Wallace Bajjali Development Partners of Sugar Land, Texas. It is a program developed by the firm and the Salvation Army to help homebuyers with moderate income restrictions buy a house and keep payments at about $450 instead of $700 to $800. The buyers also will receive assistance in paying down the home loan so that they will accrue $30,000 to $40,000 in equity in about five years as an incentive to buy a house.

Wallace said it is one of the facets of the firm’s $800 million redevelopment plan to help Joplin recover from the 2011 tornado. One of the hurdles in repopulating the city is providing affordable housing for some of the people whose modest homes were destroyed by the tornado. The incentive to build equity fast with a low monthly payment also might be attractive to recent college graduates or young workers who might come to Joplin rather than other cities because of the homebuying opportunity, Wallace told he council.

He said the firm has developed a communications program that will start soon. It will put out the word throughout the Four-State Area about the Principal Reduction Program to try to attract buyers to Joplin.

The houses are to be built by contractors who are members of the Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri or contractors who agree to comply with the organization’s standards, Wallace said.

City Manager Mark Rohr said that while the city has been tracking building permits — 79 percent of the housing units damaged by the tornado have been repaired, rebuilt or are under contract — city officials believe tracts along 20th Street lie vacant because owners are waiting to see what else will be built there.

Wallace said the firm will be trying to assemble 8,000 pieces of property ranging in size from residential lots to several acres on which to build housing, and for retail and commercial development.

“We are starting to get ready to buy land” through the city’s Joplin Redevelopment 353 Corp., he said. The land will be bought, sold or developed, with the proceeds deposited with the 353 operation for future projects.

Wallace said one project he anticipates locating somewhere on land along 20th Street is a new Joplin Public Library and movie theater complex. That project has now become intertwined with the proposed SPARK project as the result of funding. SPARK — Stimulating Progress through Arts, Recreation and Knowledge of the past — is a development plan aimed primarily at the downtown area that was introduced by Rohr in 2010.

The city has applied for a $40 million grant from the federal Economic Development Administration, but it is likely that the agency will have $20 million available to award Joplin instead, Wallace said. The developer had proposed using the $40 million toward the construction of a $68 million arts and museum complex downtown.

Wallace told the council that he is changing that plan to use the $20 million for the library/theater project. That means Joplin could have a new library at no local cost, he said, while the money generated by the lease of space in that building to a movie theater chain would be applied to the debt to build the SPARK project. Some of the seating and theater screens could be used for seminars conducted by the library, enlarging the space it would have for educational and entertainment programs. The SPARK project calls for a performance and visual arts center of about 150,000 square feet to be built at First and Main streets. It also would have an amphitheater and could involve the restoration of the Union Depot.

The council voted to authorize the city manager to submit a letter of support and a revised application for the Economic Development Administration funds reflecting the change in the funding amount.

So far, the firm has identified sources for about $300 million in capital for the $794 million it proposes in projects, Wallace told the council.

In addition to hearing the Wallace update, the council passed a number of ordinances to put in place the fiscal 2013 city budget.

Sewer, trash billing

THE JOPLIN COUNCIL on Monday approved a series of ordinances setting in place contracts for the city to take over sewer and trash billing from Missouri American Water Co. beginning Dec. 1. The water company earlier this year notified the city that it would no longer provide billing services for city sewer and trash services, as it has been doing.

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May 2011 Joplin tornado
  • Local new-home construction catches up to previous pace

    After a slow start early in this fiscal year for Joplin, the construction of new houses has resumed at the pace that existed in fiscal year 2013, when permits for new houses averaged more than 16 per month. Since November, the beginning of Joplin’s fiscal year, permits for 118 houses have been issued for a total cost of $12.8 million. The average value has been about $108,000.

    June 11, 2014

  • 052212 unity walk1_72.jpg SLIDESHOW: One year later, One day of unity, updated Photos from a day of events commemorating the May 22, 2011 tornado anniversary

    May 22, 2012 1 Photo

  • 060314 Farmers rebuild 1_72.jpg Farmers Insurance writes manual based on experience from Joplin disaster recovery

    Joplin’s housing recovery from the 2011 tornado is one for the books. Jeff Dailey, CEO of Farmers Insurance, announced Tuesday that not only will Farmers Insurance stick with Rebuild Joplin to repair and replace the homes left on the local group’s waiting list, but the company also will kick off a similar recovery effort today for the city of Sea Bright, New Jersey, based on a book it has written to expedite disaster recovery that is based on its experience in Joplin.

    June 3, 2014 2 Photos

  • r052214butterflygarden.jpg New park feature opens on tornado anniversary to encourage healing

    Cunningham Park has become an emotional place for Pamela Praytor. The name of her son, Christopher Lucas, is engraved on a monument that stands in the park in memory of the 161 people who were killed in the May 2011 tornado. “Even though I cry when I come, it’s OK,” she said. “It’s part of the healing.”

    May 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • r051214greenbldgs3.jpg Home, business cited as examples of energy efficiency, strength

    Ramona and Charles “Hugh’’ Shields were not the least bit reluctant on Monday to open their new house in the tornado zone to a bunch of strangers who had a lot of questions. “I used to live in a house where I had to wear two pairs of socks in the winter to keep my feet warm — not anymore,’’ said Ramona Shields. “This house is nice and warm in the winter, and nice and cool in the summer.’’

    May 12, 2014 2 Photos

  • Mercy Health System to receive $23 million FEMA grant

    The Federal Emergency Management Agency will provide Mercy Health System of Joplin with $23 million in public assistance funding by the end of the year. The disaster relief was announced Friday by U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill.

    April 25, 2014

  • Respond With Love flower.jpg Joplin pays it forward with flowers; residents asked to return bulbs ‘fostered’ for other towns

    Suzan Morang’s front yard bloomed brightly last year from a colorful array of bulbs that she will happily pass on to someone else this year. Morang, 1207 Xenia Court, is a participant in America Responds With Love, a national nonprofit organization that distributes bulbs to disaster-stricken cities.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Creator of Joplin-based ‘Dear World’ exhibit features Boston bombing victims in new work

    The messages written on the skin of some Boston Marathon victims may be different, but Joplin residents will recognize the handwriting. Robert X. Fogarty, the creator of the “Dear World: From Joplin with Love” exhibit, took his signature style of photography and inspiration to Boston. Fogarty traveled to Joplin in 2011 and took pictures of community members with inspirational messages written on their bodies in black ink.

    April 21, 2014

  • r041414wildwood.jpg Opening of nursing home another recovery milestone

    Gladys Dutton has done a lot of things in her life, but Monday’s dedication of the Communities at Wildwood Ranch nursing home marked a first. “I’ve never cut a ribbon before,” she said. “I hope I do a good job.” Dutton was one of four residents to participate in the opening of the $8.5 million nursing center that eventually will be home to 120 people.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Joplin Redevelopment Corp. preparing for first property sale

    The first sale of property from the Joplin Redevelopment Corp. to Wallace Bajjali Development Partners is scheduled for May 16. The city staff will be working to prepare for that sale, it was discussed on Tuesday at a meeting of the JRC.

    April 9, 2014

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