Joplin Council Report 6/1/20


Kiwanis Celebrates 100 Years 

The early minutes of Monday’s meeting kicked off with a proclamation recognizing the 100th anniversary of Joplin’s Kiwanis Club. The club was the third in Missouri to be established after St. Louis and Kansas City. Three members of the Joplin Kiwanis club were present to accept the award, including councilman Doug Lawson. 

New Entrance at Joplin Regional Airport 

Discussion ended in approval to relocate the entrance road to the Joplin Regional Airport. The project will reconstruct the north side of Dennis Weaver Drive, which intersects with Highway 171. Although the deal is valued at more than nine hundred thousand dollars, the city will only pay 10 percent of that as part of a cost-sharing program with MODOT. Construction is expected to be completed this August.

MAPS and Sunshine Lamp Reimbursement

As part of the CARES Act, the City of Joplin was awarded $3.2M in funding through the US Department of Transportation. The grant is designed to help offset the cost of public transportation operations impacted by COVID-19. According to city officials, that funding will cover about three years worth of operating costs .

Step II of the Reopening Plan

This meeting marked four weeks since Joplin’s reopening plan went into effect, which means that city leaders can assess whether the community can move forward in the second step of the reopening plan. After a long discussion about mass gatherings and outdoor sports, the city council passed the entering of Step 2, which will go into effect Tuesday, June 2. Here are the details: 

  • Biggest change: Moving from a 25% occupancy cap to 50% occupancy for gyms, pools, theaters, churches. 
  • Mass gatherings: 15 individuals allowed rather than 10
  • Restaurants: Groups of 10 allowed instead of six. Buffet lines permitted, but must be frequently sanitized with strict social distancing.
  • Gyms: Group classes permitted with social distancing in place. Locker rooms allowed to open except for steam rooms and saunas.
  • Pools: May open
  • Personal care facilities: allowed to open but operators required to wear masks 
  • Arcades and theaters: May open with strict social distancing and frequent sanitizing
  • No radius enforced on sporting events.

Coronavirus Consultant

In May, the council voted to hire a consultant to aid in the COVID-19 response. This meeting the council heard back from the consultant, Chuck Banks with Guidehouse, who updated the council on moving forward. The plan is to assess the needs of the community through surveying neighbors and stakeholders both in the city and in the surrounding areas. Those include Webb City, Carthage, and Carl Junction and their city governments. Surveying will kick off this Thursday and can be taken on the first floor of city hall, or on the City of Joplin website. It will last until Friday, June 12.

Widening Connecticut Ave. 

Next, City leaders held the first reading on the final piece of a project to widen Connecticut Avenue. The final step of the plan is to expand the street from 2 and a half lanes to a five-lane road. The council was split on the decision moving forward as some residents of the neighborhood spoke out in opposition of the project. According to neighbors, the road is popular for walking and doubling in size is not necessary. Some council members agreed and voted against the plan, but others voted to move forward. The plan will come back to the council for another reading in two weeks.

New Senior Living Facility

Plans are underway to bring a new senior living facility to Joplin. Organizers say a four-story complex that will house between 140 and 150 apartments to a 14-acre plot on East 44th Street. The apartments will be marketed for people ages 55 and up.

Moving Forward with New Courthouse

And finally, council members moved forward with plans to vacate a piece of Pearl Avenue that will become part of the new Jasper County Courthouse. The section of the road from 6th to 7th street along with an adjacent alleyway will be used by the county for parking and creating some green space. The Pearl renovation is in the early stages with work expected to begin sometime this fall.

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