Monday, December 01, 2014
Joplin City Council approves exploration of Connect2Culture Memorial Hall plan
A few moments ago, the Joplin City Council voted 9-0 to authorized city staff to work with Connect2Culture on a plan to revitalize Memorial Hall, which would include moving Spiva Art Center to the property.
The vote did not commit the city to the project, but Mayor Mike Seibert was pleased with the step he and his fellow council members had approved.
"We are Joplin; we are creative, and we are using the resources we have to look to our future."
Seibert noted the plan Connect2Culture had proposed to the Joplin R-8 Board of Education last week, which called for exploration of an expansion to the Joplin High School Performing Arts Center to make the facility a magnet for Broadway-type shows and performances from major artists and artistic troupes.
Using existing facilities like Joplin High School and Memorial Hall provided a different approach than what Connect2Culture and others had pursued earlier, including a proposed renovation of Union Depot. "The Depot proposal posed insurmountable challenges," Seibert said.
The Connect2Culture proposal was outlined for the council by board member Clifford Wert, who said that the group would pay approximately $65,000 for architectural plans.
The funding for the project itself, Wert said, would come from a "successful public-private partnership," which would "pay in full for the redevelopment of Memorial Hall "
The same type of public-private partnership had been mentioned during the presentation Wert and Sharon Beshore made last week to the R-8 Board of Education.
Wert stressed that Memorial Hall would continue to have room for veterans' exhibits and a meeting place for veterans, which were among the reasons for the building's construction nearly a century ago.
(Photos- Clifford Wert speaking to Joplin City Council and an artist's rendering of the Memorial Hall project.)