JOPLIN, Mo. - Joplin's Souls Harbor has been a fixture on Main Street for decades. But, workers say it's history hasn't always been positive. Recent changes have improved some of the issues, and now, they need your help to make one more, major improvement.
Souls Harbor, downtown Joplin...for years, it's had a dark cloud hovering over it. Then, Dianna Gurley took it over, and began to change things improving relations with the city and the mission's neighbors. Gurley says they've done that with help from the community, and now they've got a new project. Dianna Gurley, Souls Harbor Director says "The hope is to be able to put everything into one building, so that the administration and the housing unit can all work together in one area, it's much easier to run a team of people when they're all together in the same place."
The mission is looking for $1.5 million to build a new facility, or locate another suitable building. Back in 2017, Councilman Gary Shaw met with Souls Harbor and some investors that were interested in the buildings. Gurley hopes those same investors will come back, now that the Harbor has a plan to move. Gurley says "Absolutely, absolutely, if they could come forward and say 'hey, we have an interest in that, we love the historical value of it', we believe there is much potential in restoring them and the location is perfect, of course right here on Main Street."
Councilman, now Mayor, Shaw, says the move could be very beneficial. Gary Shaw, Joplin Mayor says "I emphasize that they're providing a great service to our city and certainly we want it to be a blessing to Souls Harbor as well as to our investors that are coming in there as well." And he hopes those investors, or perhaps new ones, will step in and made a bid. Shaw says "Anytime you can work together and on projects, you usually can work out a situation where all those parties involved are blessed, and I think that's what's going to happen down there."
Gurley says they don't have a definitive timeline for moving...Gurley explains "I think we're just going to go as the Lord wills, as the Lord sees fit, you know, He's going to open up the right time with the right people, for that to happen." But they hope to be moving within a year.
Gurley tells us that right now, the current facility can house around 54 residents, but plans for a new facility would accommodate upwards of 80 people.
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