Last week at a statewide conference held by the Missouri Main Street Connection, the Downtown Joplin Alliance won two awards for helping preserve and develop the city’s historic properties. KRPS’s Fred Fletcher-Fierro has more.
The origins of the DJA date back to 1989, when Joplin was chosen as one of five cities to pilot the Main Street Program. Participation in that program has ebbed and flowed over the years in parallel with the vacancy rates of buildings and office space in downtown Joplin.
Executive Director of the Joplin Downtown Alliance and Pittsburg State graduate Lori Haun was named head of the non-profit five years ago and said that grants played a significant role in helping the DJA earn the award for Best Historic Preservation Project.
“It was really cool that by establishing this, it gives us kind of a pool of money we got a grant for it. A pool of money that allows us to intervene in endangered properties, like buildings that are vacant, might have roof issues or ownership issues.”
The DJA also won an Outstanding Development Project for the Willard Hotel. One of the major projects on the radar for the Alliance is to find a buyer and developer for the Joplin Train Depot that has sat vacant for decades.