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Apartments destroyed in tornado are again open - KOAM TV 7

Apartments destroyed in tornado are again open

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Four Staters still looking for another place to live because of last year's tornado now have a new choice for the picking.

The Plaza Apartments behind Walmart was in the direct part of last year's tornado.

There were many injuries, but thankfully there were no deaths at the Plaza.

On Wednesday, property owners say it's a new beginning for those that have come back to live here.

"You hear the residents, the stories when they lived here, what they went through, where they had to find temporary housing, but to see their faces when they come back,"says Mike Landers, Bell Management.

"We'll go and just relook at stuff to see how much they've rebuilt," says Evelyn Roberts.  "It makes you feel good that everybody has pulled together and done so much within this time."

Roberts isn't a tornado survivor, but she lost her home on April 1 and is one of the Plaza Apartments new residents.

The rebuilt Plaza Apartments been her home away from home since May.

There's 175 apartment units at the Plaza and property owners say about half of the residents lived here before the tornado.

Whether displaced because of a fire or tornado, Joplin city officials say there's still plenty of people in need of housing.

"A housing study indicated there was a need of up to 1,700 single family homes, and 1,400 rental units, of which 560 would be affordable type housing, and the remainder would be market rate, and these are market rate apartments," says Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.

The Plaza's owners also built 36 affordable apartment units nearby.

"The affordable housing is for like, a family of four can be making up to about $30,000 a year, so that satisfies the one working household member," says Landers.

Developers say they know their ideas for housing have the potential for long-lasting impressions.

"We think we've made a pretty big dent in the housing needs in Joplin, although there's still a long ways to go," Landers says.

City officials say 71% of the housing units destroyed by last year's tornado have now been rebuilt or are under permit to be rebuilt.

Last week was a holiday, so from here on out city officials are hoping for another solid time of rebuilding even more houses and apartments.

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