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Demolition and Debris Cleanup Continues
Through the efforts of the thousands of volunteers, our residents, and the partnership between the federal, state and local governments, our community is transforming the piles of loose, tornado debris throughout the storm-damaged area to clean, mowable lots.

Skilled volunteers, working through AmeriCorps, continue to remove structures, as well as concrete remains, such as foundations, footings, basements, crawl spaces, driveways, and slabs at the request of homeowners affected by this disaster. This demolition debris is then removed from the curbside by the City’s contractor. However, a deadline for this process of volunteer demolition and curbside debris removal will be established soon.

Even with this outstanding progress, there are some remaining properties with structures that need demolished or concrete remains that need to be removed, if the foundation is not going to be used for rebuilding. In some cases, temporary repairs, such as boarded up windows and tarps on damaged roofs, have been made to other structures.

“Property owners may have temporarily boarded up their house or covered their damaged roofs with tarps,” said Leslie Jones, Finance Director, who is one of two leading city officials overseeing the demolition and debris cleanup process. “We want to remind residents that this is a temporary fix, and permanent repairs will need to be completed as soon as possible.”

The City, along with an AmeriCorps representative and a State of Missouri official, will try to visit with property owners who have homes with temporary repairs, but may need assistance to make permanent repairs.

“We still have skilled volunteers here in Joplin offering to help homeowners needing solutions,” she said. “Now is the time to get this addressed. Otherwise, those houses still in disrepair will go to the Building Board of Appeals to start the demolition process. The City will try to assist in the coordination of any type of assistance that might be available to property owners in this situation.”

Homeowners needing volunteer assistance can call AmeriCorps at 417-625-3558, Monday through Friday during normal business hours.

The City has begun the dangerous structure declaration process and expects to begin demolishing structures in groupings of approximately 20 by mid-to-late January. If the City removes the structure or foundation, there will be a charge to the property owner for the actual cost of the demolition and removal.

“The City does not want to be in the business of tearing down houses, but we also recognize that some property owners may have moved out of the area without addressing these structures, or decided to not make improvements at this time,” said Jones. “Unfortunately, these can leave dangerous conditions that still need to be addressed.”

In addition, the City asks residents who previously signed the Right of Entry form for assistance in removing loose, tornado debris from their property by the government-funded contractor; to watch for correspondence from the City regarding their insurance settlement reimbursement after demolition work is completed.

“The letter will request insurance settlement information to ensure there is no duplication of benefits as a result of the debris removal operation,” she said. “We explained this in the ROE process, but want to remind residents of this as the demolition of properties continue.”

If you have questions, please contact the Tornado Assistance Information Line (TAIL) at 417-627-2900.