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Residential rebuilding begins in Joplin

Joplin city officials now are granting building permits for tornado-damaged residential properties from Picher Avenue west to the city limits.

City officials say this is a step forward toward Joplin’s recovery process.

“We’re taking steps to rebuild Joplin in that area and I think this is a terrific step,” says Assistant Public Works Director Jack Schaller.  “We’re moving forward.  We’re not moving back any.  We’re just keep moving forward.”

The building permits allows residents to build a new structure on existing foundations or basements or build a completely new structure from the ground up.

Joplin resident Larry Eller spoke to the city council Tuesday night questioning the 60-day hold on building permits and now says the basement is his first priority.

“Obviously we want to rebuild and have the basement as an integral part of our home – it probably saved our lives,” Eller says.  “That’s very important to me, having a place to go when those sirens.”

Eller says he voiced his opposition to the permit delay from day one and says the city of Joplin made the right decision to lift the hold.  He says it’s going to have a positive effect for the community.

“I always try to look at the bright side of things (and the) building of a new home is an exciting time - the rebirth of a neighborhood – all that is exciting.  “If anything can come out of this terrible situation it will be that we will come back, we will rebuild and we will come back stronger than before.”

Officials say they are continuing to evaluate the debris-removal efforts in the remaining tornado-damaged areas so citizens can begin getting residential building permits as soon as  progress allows.

Building permits will remain on hold for residential properties along 20th and 26th Streets, as well as Schifferdecker Road.  These roads are the main routes for trucks hauling out tornado debris.  City officials say they are keeping an eye on these areas and will allow permits as quickly as possible once traffic loads decrease to safer levels.

Officials say the time frame for building permits in the remaining residential areas is very subjective.

“It depends upon our clean up process and not interfering with our debris routes and the debris removal process as we go through this as we try to meet our August 7th date,” says Eller.

Officials say when areas open up for building residents should take caution of the debris removal process in the surrounding areas.  They say the clean up process is making progress and it’s inspiring to watch the community unite.

“It’s collectively brought us closer together and we’re all focused on the goal of rebuilding this great city of ours,” says Eller.


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