Joplin Seeks Architects for Route 66 Project

Joplin Seeks Architects for Route 66 Project
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Even if you ignore the broken windows, weathered paint, and cracked walls; it’s still hard to imagine a vacant building on Broadway in Joplin becoming a local attraction.

But that’s the hope of the Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“From what I understand, back in the 30’s, [Broadway] was the main street,” Robert Mahurien owner of the Penny Pincher Thrift Store on Broadway said.

In Mahurien’s short time operating on Broadway he’s seen the area shrink.. And businesses close.

“Lumpy’s BBQ, Gadgets, had a little sandwich shop here,” Mahurien said. “The roofing contractor across the street. He’s gone.”

He believes the proposed Route 66 visitors center could re-energize the area.

“Cause it will bring people off the interstate to here,” Mahurien said. “If you think about it there’s nothing in Joplin to pull the traffic off the interstate. So I think Route 66 would just be a great thing to have people come off the interstate and take a look.”

The convention and visitor’s bureau is seeking architectural statements from firms interested in the renovation.

“This is just the beginning. This is just to hire the architect,” the CVB’s Patrick Tuttle said. “To get the interest on the 1100 block of Broadway to see what we start off with.”

When it comes to the possibility of what the visitor’s center could mean for broadway, tuttle has even higher expectations than just an attraction.

“It’s also gonna be a template of the rebirth of Broadway,” Tuttle said. “So if we could look at what to do. Kind of look at the model we have with Main street, how we restored the historical look of that, and move it on to Broadway and expand it.

“I’m hoping it will bring people over here,” Mahurien said. “We still get people driving down Route 66 here. But I’d just like to see more consistent people coming over on this side of town.”

The city will collect architectural submittals until April 16th. City council members will vote on whether to fund the project in July.

Currently, there is no timeline set to begin construction.