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A bureau within the U.S. Department of Commerce


Press Release

U.S. Department of Commerce Announces a $20 Million Investment to Support Economic Disaster Recovery in Joplin, Missouri

WASHINGTON — Acting U.S. Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank today announced that the Economic Development Administration (EDA) will award a $20 million grant to Joplin, Missouri, to assist with the city’s economic recovery following a significant tornado in 2011. The grant will help fund the redevelopment of Joplin’s 20th Street corridor. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development Matt Erskine participated in a city-organized event in Cunningham Park today, along with other federal and local officials, to commemorate the second anniversary of the tornado’s touchdown.

“This $20 million investment is an example of the Obama administration’s commitment to helping communities impacted by natural disasters rebuild their infrastructure and their economies,” said Acting Secretary Blank. “The EDA grant announced today will help revitalize the 20th Street commercial corridor, which is critical to the city’s economic activity. Ensuring that Joplin is open for business is crucial to the city’s long-term recovery efforts.”

The 2011 tornado had a tremendous impact on the city’s economy, damaging or destroying more than 550 businesses and approximately 7,500 housing units, according to the city. The 20th Street corridor project will incorporate mixed-use space for retail, residential, dining, and entertainment uses, making it an integral part of Joplin’s long-term master plan for recovery.

“Two years after the devastating Joplin tornado, we’ve witnessed remarkable rebuilding and recovery efforts across the region,” said U.S. Senator Roy Blunt. “I’m thankful Joplin received this grant, which will continue to revitalize the community and spur new economic development opportunities in the City’s 20th Street Corridor.”

“We are grateful for this grant as it spurs additional redevelopment activities within Joplin and demonstrates what can be accomplished through collaboration among many. We are pleased with this economic development effort, as it creates opportunities for new business which will provide jobs for our citizens,” said Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean.

In addition to the funding announced today, EDA previously awarded two disaster recovery grants to Joplin. Shortly after the disaster in 2011, EDA invested $341,537 in the Harry S. Truman Coordinating Council of Carl Junction, Mo., to support the appointment of both regional and local Disaster and Economic Recovery Coordinators who have worked to advance economic recovery efforts in the tornado-impacted Joplin region.

Earlier this year, EDA also invested $3 million in Joplin to support the rebuilding and equipping of the Franklin Technology Center. Operated by the Joplin School District, the Franklin Technology Center will provide skills training to students in the school system, as well as specialized training to adults already in the workforce, allowing for the enhancement of the career training program focused on manufacturing and technology.

This project is part of a $200 million appropriation made by Congress to EDA to help communities that received a major disaster designation in fiscal year 2011 with long-term economic recovery and infrastructure support.

Within the context of the administration’s National Disaster Recovery Framework (NDRF) (PDF), EDA serves as the Coordinating Agency on behalf of the Department of Commerce for the Economic Recovery Support Function (RSF) to coordinate the activities of a diverse group of partner agencies supporting recovery in disaster-impacted communities. The activities consist primarily of improved information sharing and the leveraging of existing resources to make a positive impact for communities affected by disasters.

About the U.S. Economic Development Administration (www.eda.gov)
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation's regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.