$20 million grant to pay for development... - KOAM TV 7

$20 million grant to pay for development at 20th Street and Connecticut


Joplin city officials release details of how they'll use a new $20 million grant.

The grant was given during Wednesday's ceremony to honor those who died in the May 22, 2011 tornado.

City officials have said in the past that they want to rezone much of 20th Street from residential to commercial.  This new grant will put that plan into action even more.

The land at the corner of Connecticut and 20th Street will be developed.

Nearby property owners say they'd like to see this land developed, just not the type of development that's being proposed - a new movie theater, library and public parking garage.

"At least it'll be something to block the wind," says resident Allene Anderson.  "We were a neighborhood.  I realize, theyre talking about 20th Street going commercial, and even Conneticut going commercial, but this is our home."

The U.S. Economic Development Administration seems to agree with city officials that what was once residential, needs to be zoned differently.

The EDA first contacted workers with the city's master developer last year.

"They wanted to know, if in fact we had some projects in the cue that they could take a look at," says Gary Box of Wallace Bajjali.

One of those projects reviewed was the new movie theater, library and public parking garage.  The total cost of the upcoming project is $25 million.

On the two year anniversary of the Joplin tornado, EDA officials presented Joplin officials a $20 million grant, enough to only build the two story library and parking garage.

Workers with the Wallace Bajali company say most of the remaining $5 million needed will come from a TIF fund, money coming from future increases in property tax revenues.

Despite a years worth of planning 19 projects worth $800 million throughout the city, there's been no building yet by Wallace Jajali, but the master developer company says it's invested more than $2 million in Joplin.

"Everything from conceptual design of projects, architects, internal expenses," says Box.

Plans call for one of the first projects, the movie theater and library, to begin construction in six months.

The city's master developer wants to eventually also put along the 20th Street corridor new retail and grocery stores.

This current project with a new movie theater and library sits on eight acres.

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