(From the Governor's office)
A $4 million grant will enable the city of Joplin to complete the job of demolishing and removing tornado debris, Gov. Jay Nixon said today. At tonight's meeting of the Joplin City Council, the Governor announced the city was receiving the funding for demolition and debris removal not included under the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) program.
With more than 1.5 million cubic yards of debris removed already from 6,553 residential and 1,127 commercial properties, the job of demolition and removal is approximately 96 percent done, the Governor told the council. About 200 structures have yet to be demolished, and about 1,300 residential foundations, slabs and other concrete remains that must be removed.
Fewer than half of the demolition projects would be eligible for FEMA reimbursement, and none of the 1,300 removal projects are eligible, posing significant costs for the city to finish the job. The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Missouri Department of Economic Development provides funding of up to $4 million to help with this remaining work, Gov. Nixon said.
"Finishing up this last bit of demolition and debris removal will enable more Joplin families to get busy rebuilding their homes, their neighborhoods and their lives,"Gov. Nixon said. "When folks start pouring the foundations for their new homes, it will kick-start the economy not only for Joplin and Jasper County, but for the state as a whole."
As the remaining demolition and debris removal work is carried out by contractors, the city will draw down the new CDBG funding from the state to pay for the work. The Governor encouraged owners of property needing demolition work to contact the city by Oct. 15 to inform them of their intention to rebuild or request assistance with demolition.
Gov. Nixon also told the council that the state anticipates that every one of the 584 families that applied for temporary housing will be moved in by the end of September, with the completion of the Hope Haven II project. The state is working with Joplin city officials on plans to build a playground to serve children and families living in temporary housing, including providing $300,000 for the project.
The CDBG funding for demolition and debris removal is part of the ongoing efforts by the state to help with the recovery and rebuilding process in the Joplin area. In June, Gov. Nixon said he was making available $75 million in additional state resources to help businesses impacted by the tornado recover. In July, the Governor announced the $122 million Jumpstart Joplin initiative to address the pressing need for housing.
The Governor also used the occasion to praise Mayor Mike Woolston and the Joplin City Council for their courage, determination and leadership since the tornado hit. It was a tribute to them that so much has gone so well in so short a time, the Governor said.