Concerns about the prospects for eviction of traditional residents of the East Town neighborhood if the first phase of a historic district nomination progresses to the National Register of Historic Places will be discussed at an upcoming meeting on the proposal.
Also, questions about the boundaries of the district will be discussed.
The meeting will be at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Boys & Girls Club of Southwestern Missouri Gymnasium, 317 Comingo Ave.
This is a follow-up session to an initial discussion that took place last month. Comments and questions expressed by residents during this meeting will be addressed during this session.
City officials and members of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission will talk about the neighborhood’s location, its significance, and other possible preservation projects in the neighborhood. They will also give an update on current and future plans and projects for the neighborhood.
One of the concerns expressed by residents at the last meeting was the size and boundaries of the proposal to name the Broadway Historic District.
This first area to be nominated is for the north side of Langston Hughes-Broadway, which has been the neighborhood’s main commercial area since it merged with nearby Murphysburg to become Joplin in 1873. The nominated neighborhood would stretch from Broadway, which is also historic Route 66, north to Hill Street, east to past Landreth Avenue, and west to Division Avenue. This area comprises approximately 50 blocks, or 300 acres.
Resident Patsy Robinson said at the last meeting that she considered the neighborhood too small to be representative of the area’s historic structures. She said neither her home built in the 1800s nor the building that was once Washington Elementary School were included in the historic area.
The town planner responsible for helping the Historic Preservation Commission with the project, Tom Walters, said last month that is because this proposal is only for the first phase of what is expected to be a two-phase appointment. Details of the second phase have yet to be planned, he said. The surveys conducted by a consultant to prepare the nominations were carried out in two phases, one on the north side of Broadway and the second on the south side.
Melodee Colbert-Kean, a former Joplin mayor and city council member who operates a business in the neighborhood, said at last month’s meeting that while she was excited about the nomination, it could eventually push some traditional residents to low returned out of the area.
“Gentrification is real, and it’s happened time and time again in cities like Chicago, New York, Kansas City, and there’s no saying it couldn’t happen here following the same patterns,” Colbert said. Kean. “My concern is that we need to address this issue, so that residents of the community don’t get caught up in the excitement without hearing that higher taxes may be assessed and residents may be relocated,” she said. stated at the January meeting.
Walters, when asked about this, said: “As a general rule, a national registry designation is not a trigger for gentrification, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a valid concern. It needs to be addressed, and that will be part of a later engagement.”
Walters can be reached at the Planning and Community Development Department at 417-624-0820, ext. 1539.