Our View

As the Joplin area continues to battle the delta variant of the coronavirus, several construction projects profiled by The Joplin Globe last week are a bright spot of health and happiness for local residents.

The Joplin Bungalows, a housing development that opened last year for senior citizens and veterans, including those who are disabled, cut the ribbon last week on a dog park for tenants there. The park was made possible by a $4,000 gift from the Ozark Center.

None of the Bungalows’ 14 current residents owns service or therapy dogs at the moment, but having a park there for future canine pals is beneficial to both human and animal. A place to run and play is critical to dogs’ well-being, and a happy pet makes living easier and more satisfactory for owners.

What a great project to come to fruition.

In downtown Joplin, the 120-year-old Willard Hotel building at 905 S. Main St. has been undergoing extensive renovations. Composed of two buildings, the hotel originally held about 20 sleeping rooms that were used by new arrivals to Joplin, and its proximity to the old Missouri Pacific Railroad depot meant it was a perfect place for travelers to stop.

But time took its toll, and a new vision was needed for the 21st century. Enter Lori and Jeremy Haun, who bought the building in 2016 and are wrapping up revitalization efforts. Tenants have already snatched up the building’s six one-bedroom apartments, and two storefront areas will be ready for tenants soon.

“This is a risk, but it is also about loving your city and seeing what you want your city to be,” Jeremy Haun told the Globe last week. “A rich history came long before all this, and we want to preserve that. It was important for us to save these buildings.”

A round of applause to the Hauns and the partners involved in their project for repurposing a historic icon of Main Street.

Finally, over in Carthage, the Joplin Area Habitat for Humanity remains hard at work, using volunteers from H.E. Williams Inc. last week to install siding on a home under construction for Jennifer Comer and her 9-year-old son, Riley. H.E. Williams Inc. has helped and partnered with Habitat for years — since the group finished its first home in Carthage in 2008; two more Habitat homes are currently under construction in the city.

For the homeowner-to-be, the build has been a blessing.

“This is unbelievable. I can’t believe it’s finally here,” Comer told the Globe last week. “... We can’t wait to move in.”

Congrats to Habitat for its longevity in the area and to the hundreds of volunteers who help make homeownership a reality for many.

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