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Mercy passes on deeds to new owners of St Johns property - KOAM TV 7

Mercy passes on deeds to new owners of St Johns property

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Mercy Health Systems served up a breakfast this morning and unveiled plans for what will happen to the land where Saint John's Hospital once stood.

Many have referred to the old Saint John's location as hallowed ground and Mercy decided early on it wasn't going to be parceled off and sold.  In fact, now they want it to be a place for people to not only reflect but to dream.

"Out of adversity comes opportunity," Board Chairman Danny Thomas says.

Officials say the Sisters of Mercy started the hospital after coming here to build a school and would be happy they decided not to simply sell the property which would have been valuable commercially.

"Sure, we could have (sold it) - it would have been a one time thing," says Mercy CEO Gary Pulsipher.  "Just a one time hit to the bank account which wouldn't have been bad, but the Sisters have always thought for years into the future - 'what's going to have the biggest impact' so that was a fairly easy decision at that point."

Instead, Thomas and other Mercy leaders say the land is becoming a friendship quilt of sorts, with squares going to Stained Glass Theatre, the City of Joplin and the Joplin School District.  The city plans a memorial museum and Stained Glass Theatre officials say it's an opportunity to come back better than before.  The plans are still visions, many of them not yet funded. 

In a deed transfer ceremony President and CEO of Sisters of Mercy Health System Linn Britton read the inscription that will be on plaques at each site - "Rising up from the rubble on land that sustained the hospitals ministry for 43 years."

Britton told the crowd it's important to have more dreams than memories.

"Just like the day we decided to rebuild the hospital or keep all the coworkers employed, we didn't know how we were going to pay for that," Britton says.  "We found our way through it and we will again at this site, as will the community of Joplin as they explore together how we're going to make all these things become a reality.  And that's just a part of the journey.  We'll all have a sense of pride the day we get to walk into that school or the first production in the theatre or the museum opens.  That will be a great day of pride for all of us."

Stained Glass Theatre will have a number of fundraising productions next year to do just that and the vision for the city's memorial museum could include a walking path that crosses over 26th Street to Cunningham Park.

Right now it's just a vision, but it's a plan many believe Joplin can put into action.

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