Joplin is a thriving, diverse community of dreamers and doers who belong — united by the fun of living our purpose. Here are eight reasons why a growing number of families, students and businesses are choosing Joplin:

• Joplin is where entrepreneurs come to build thriving businesses. Leveraging our low cost of living, transportation infrastructure and the moxie of our regional workforce, businesses large and small choose Joplin to base their regional, national and international operations. From national leaders in trucking, building products and food production, to emerging e-commerce and tech startups, Joplin offers a supportive business community and a culture of innovation.

• Joplin is an emerging educational center where students from all over the world follow their passions. Missouri Southern State University offers more than 140 academic programs to nearly 6,000 students. Ozark Christian College is a national leading Bible college, training men and women for Christian service. The new Kansas City University-Joplin campus is the first medical school to open in Missouri in nearly 50 years, featuring state-of-the-art facilities and technology to educate the next generation of medical doctors and bioscientists. And in 2022, KCU-Joplin will open a new College of Dental Medicine.

• Joplin has a robust culinary scene. Besides its 200 restaurants, the Joplin area has indoor and outdoor year-round farmers markets, numerous food trucks and is the home of several emerging microbreweries and coffee roasters.

• Joplin is where arts and culture are celebrated. Art galleries and monthly art walks attract patrons from across the region to our historic Downtown Arts District. Pro Musica and Connect2Culture host concert series that bring a diverse array of performances to Joplin, igniting a passion for the arts. Grammy Award-winning artists perform at house concerts. Opening in 2022, the Harry M. Cornell Arts & Entertainment Complex will consist of a 450-seat indoor multipurpose performance hall, a 1,500-person capacity outdoor amphitheater and the new home for the Spiva Center for the Arts. It will bring visual and performing artists from around the world to Joplin and showcase our region’s amazing arts community.

• Joplin is an active lifestyle community that offers numerous outdoor recreation opportunities. The city of Joplin maintains 22 parks and greenways, including three aquatic centers. The area is dotted with championship golf courses, tennis and pickleball courts, and an expansive and growing trail system. Joplin’s running and cycling communities organize fun, inviting group runs and rides. Nestled on the edge of the Ozark Mountains, the numerous lakes and state parks surrounding Joplin offer world-class boating, fishing and hunting opportunities.

• Joplin is a regional transportation hub. At the intersection of I-44 and I-49, Joplin-based trucking companies and distribution centers service the entire nation. Meanwhile, the Joplin Regional Airport offers direct flights to both Chicago and Dallas, efficiently connecting Joplin to the world.

• Joplin is known as a welcoming faith-based community. Congregations of nearly every Christian denomination, a historic synagogue and a new mosque serve as places for worship, interfaith dialogue and community service.

• Joplin is proud of its nearly 150 years of rich history. Our revitalized downtown district features nearly 250 historic buildings, a testament to Joplin’s zinc and lead mining boomtown era of stunning growth and prosperity. Later, Joplin became a key part of America’s lore when the historic Route 66 came through town. The Joplin area has been home to the famous and infamous. Mickey Mantle, Thomas Hart Benton, Langston Hughes, George Washington Carver, and even Bonnie and Clyde have added to the patina of our historic community.

Joplin has transformed into an affordable, livable version of the urban lifestyle that offers viable career, entrepreneurial and educational opportunities, burgeoning music and cultural venues, bike trails and walkable streets, and robust culinary and coffee scenes. Progress is fueled by people rolling up their sleeves and making it happen, with grit and creativity. Whatever your passion or purpose, it can happen in Joplin.

Tobias Teeter is president and CEO of the Joplin Area Chamber of Commerce.