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Businesses rebuild while residents wait to start construction

JOPLIN, MISSOURI – Tornado ravaged businesses re-build while residents must wait to start construction.
The topic of tonight’s Joplin city council meeting? The temporary hold on building permits.

Why one resident is unhappy about the hold and what he’s doing to speed up re-building efforts.

“As soon as possible lets bring life back into this city. Let’s bring our families back.” Joplin resident Larry Eller talks to city officials about the hold on residential building permits.

The May 22nd tornado claimed everything but his basement and floor of his house. Eller says it’s important to start construction as soon as possible so he can save this portion of the house.

“I’ve tried to protect it with this tarp but there really is no effective way of keeping rain off this without a roof over it. So it’s imperative that I get in, get started with at least putting a roof over this structure and saving the basement that I have today,” says Eller.

Joplin city officials say they will continue to hold building permits because they don’t want construction crews to interfere with the debris removal process.

“We’re as longing as anybody else to get to the next phase of this multi-phase project and we’re focused on moving the expedited debris out of those areas. And as those areas get substantially clean then we’ll be doing a process to release portions of those as the clean up is taking place.” Says David Hertzberg, Director of Joplin Public Works
Hertzberg also says anyone in the way of debris removal could delay the city in meeting the August seventh deadline to have tornado damaged areas clear.

If the deadline is not met, the city will have to pay for more than just ten percent of the clean up costs.

Eller says he understands the city’s concerns for public safety and getting the debris removed out of the area as soon as possible. However, he also says there’s plenty of space and construction crews would not be in the way in this neighborhood.

The basement saved his family’s life during the tornado which is another reason he wants to keep it out of harmful elements, and also due to financial reasons.

“Tt’s cost-saving when you re-build if you don’t have to do something twice. And i really feel the deck is going to be just fine if we can get to it quick enough,” says Eller.

And he says the city’s 40 day hold on residential building permits will not be quick enough.

Around 12 Joplin residents have applied for building permits so far. City officials will keep the moratorium in place until neighborhoods are clear of debris.


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