Some Joplin residents say the City should be doing a better job of planning for a soon-to-be vacant Joplin Library building. A grand opening of Joplin's new library on 20th Street is scheduled for June.
The Joplin Library owns its current building, and the library will transfer its ownership to the City once the library moves out (The City owns the library's new building). Joplin's city manager says he won't publicly discuss future options of the current library building until the City receives ownership of that building.
Allen Shirley, member of the Joplin Museum Board, says it's time to make history.
Shirley says, "My appeal to the people of Joplin: Isn't it time?"
The Joplin Museum has been at its current location, near Schifferdecker Park, for the past 85 years.
"Isn't it time to take a look at a building and this opportunity of moving downtown," says Shirley.
...Moving into the downtown Joplin Library building. Workers at the current library building hope to move out around the end of April. Joplin City Councilman Jim West says fellow council members have not discussed what to do with the building. Some residents say city officials should at least be talking about ideas; they don't want their money paying for maintaining an empty structure.
"They need some ideas to begin with, let alone making a final decision," says Joplin resident Sherry Britten.
Shirley has informally talked with City officials about moving the museum into the library building.
"It would approximately would be the same space," says Shirley. "But I think the beauty is that this building offers a very large, open area. Our current museum is cut-up and sectioned-off so poorly."
Shirley says workers from the Smithsonian Museum, the world's largest museum in Washington, D.C., have visited Joplin's current museum location. Shirley wanted traveling exhibits showcased at the Joplin Museum.
"He said your package, this old building, it can't meet our environmental needs," says Shirley.
Shirley says the library building would mean more exhibit opportunities, right along Joplin's Main Street. Joplin residents like Joe Stim agree.
"I definitely do not want it as a vacant building," says Stim.
According to Shirley, Missouri Southern has also shown interest in the library building. But university officials seem to also think the museum would be a better fit.
"I can't divulge some personal conversations I've had with people at the university. But I can tell you, they have said if we had a need for the building, they would not stand in our way," says Shirley.
Shirley is willing to make a public presentation to City Council, though Councilman Jim West says no talks about the library building have been scheduled.
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