Some preliminary details are released about a proposed redevelopment project along Main Street. Efforts are underway to make parts of the street more attractive. Construction workers are building new sidewalks and fixing infrastructure. But developers are looking at transforming some properties that many residents say need to be renovated.
For many people, this idea is nothing new; it's been around for several years. But one city official says interest from developers has recently grown.
Jason Hurley's comic book business has been on Main Street for the past five years.
"I believe the main street and the downtown part of a town is super important. And if it's not the cultural center of town, then it really should be," says Jason Hurley, owner of "Hurley's Heroes."
Picture time as a villain outside his store.
"There are a lot of run-down buildings here in this part of town," says Hurley.
Developers have been showing strong interest at buildings across the street from Hurley.
"There are a couple of them in the 800 and 900 blocks of Main Street," says Joplin City Councilman Gary Shaw.
This is "stage one" of any possible building renovations. There have been no negotiations between interested developers and building owners. Instead, those developers, along with Councilman Shaw, have been doing research; asking workers at the Souls Harbor homeless shelter, in particular, if they would be willing to move.
"To have a building that was where you could lay out where you wanted a kitchen, where you wanted a dormitory, where you wanted a chapel," says Shaw.
There's no idea yet of where Souls Harbor would move.
"There could be a building out there, somewhere, that would be ideal to move into," says Shaw. "Obviously, I would like to see that. I'd hate to see empty buildings around."
Shaw says developers want to make sure Souls Harbor would have a new home before any Main Street redevelopment would begin. Many details of this proposal have yet to be released. But Shaw says this core idea for change appears likely to be put into action.
"The snowball is starting to get a little bigger and a little bigger. I think it might happen this time," says Shaw.
"It's where people who come into this town should want to go," says Hurley. "And there should be things here for them. There are plenty of unique, different buildings here that have all the potential in the world to be those places."
Shaw says he hasn't heard from developers about what these buildings may turn into. The director of the Souls Harbor Board wanted to share these new details with other board members before talking to the public.
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