Downtown Joplin Alliance Prepare Old Empire Building for Open House
Volunteers and the Downtown Joplin Alliance have been busy preparing a donated piece of property for a weekend open house. At the end of December, Empire handed over the keys to an old facility on 4th Street. The goal now is for DJA to turn it into a 4-season market.
The list of things to be done before the weekend is long but officials with the downtown Joplin alliance are confident that with the help of volunteers, the items will get checked off the list. Carolina Neal is one of those volunteers, dedicating her time to help with even the simplest tasks.
“Cleaning,” she laughs. “I’m good at cleaning.”
This time she picks up a paint brush, sprucing up the conference room on the upstairs level where office space will be available for rent. For Neal, volunteering her personal time is a no brainer.
“Joplin is my home now. I left my [Costa Rica] a long time ago and came here and this is my home and when you have a home, you take care of your home,” says Neal.
Dozens of others have helped the past few weeks, cleaning and even collaborating on murals to transform the old Empire building into a year round market.
“People’s excitement and buy in level is such that they’re willing to come and give of themselves to help make this thing a reality,” says Ivy Hagedorn, a board member with the DJA.
A reality they hope will be a cultural destination not just for locals, but for people all over the region. Hagedorn says they’ve had a great response from the community, a sign of what’s to come.
“People are excited about this and I think rightfully so,” she says.
The volunteers look past what’s left to be done and see what the space will bring to the city.
“We need to grow we need to invest in our community and create places and activities to people to want to be here,” says Neal.
The open house is Saturday afternoon, it starts at 1. The plan is to have the market open by this summer.