City of Joplin entering final year for disaster recovery assistance

City faces down September deadline
City of Joplin entering final year for disaster recovery assistance
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The City of Joplin is entering its final year of disaster recovery funding.

The city has a September deadline to complete projects and close out project files related to recovery efforts from the 2011 tornado. Since 2011, the City of Joplin has received two community development block grants from the Department of Housing and Urban Development totaling $160 million. Patty Heagal with the City of Joplin says “Each one comes with a different set of regulations and to do’s that the federal government requires us to follow.”

Some of the major project areas have been the South Main Street corridor and the East 20th Street corridor. Those are areas that benefit the entire public, however, the grants came with some other specific areas to cover. Heagal says “We’ve touched a number of areas, housing, economic development, public infrastructure, and then things such as public facilities.”

Heagal tells us that includes the Joplin Bungalows project. The funds have to be committed to a contract, or a project, before September of this year. Heagal says “Joplin Bungalows, the housing for seniors and veterans is just getting underway, so it may go a little past the September deadline, but the point being, it will all be under contract, obligated, and due to be all spent.”

That’s where Heagal says HUD is being a bit more lenient. Heagal explains “HUD is making allowances for close outs and things of that nature, checking every file, closing them out, and then doing the whole program closeout of the two grants.”

As for the future, we haven’t quite seen the end of the orange cones…yet. Heagal says “We’ll have at least 11 different projects we’re hoping, we’ll see how the bids come in on the last 3 that are in final design.”

While the city is finally closing the book on the “recovery” portion of it’s history, Heagal says they’re looking to the future for other initiatives to continue to allow the city to grow. Heagal says most of the remaining projects are neighborhood projects to improve street surfaces and add handicap accessibility to sidewalks.