- Associated Press - Monday, April 6, 2015

JOPLIN, Mo. (AP) - Joplin has seen more than $1.1 billion in repairs and new construction since a May 2011 tornado devastated parts of the city, and large commercial projects are driving construction this year, according to the city’s latest building permits report.

Construction of the Joe Becker Stadium, with a permit valued at $4.7 million, was the leading project in February, followed by a $4.4 million permit for a Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market in the tornado zone, The Joplin Globe reported (http://bit.ly/1GDIKGt ).

The stadium is set to open May 21, according to Shawn Suarez, general manager of the Joplin Blasters, an American Association independent professional baseball team that will play at the stadium.

“Construction is on track and should be ready to go for our first game,” he said. “We’re excited to see what people think about the new Joe Becker Stadium.”

Anne Hatfield, spokeswoman for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said the store’s grand opening is planned for the fall.

The city issued 82 permits in February with a total construction value of $15.3 million. It issued 13 permits for new home construction in February with a total value of $1.2 million. Twelve of those were in Joplin’s tornado zone. The city has been issuing an average of 17 permits for new homes each month for the past two fiscal years. The monthly average so far this fiscal year has been 16.

The $1.1 billion in repairs and new construction since the tornado does not include two school projects that are just outside the Joplin city limits in Duquesne. Those two projects totaled $46.3 million.

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Information from: The Joplin (Mo.) Globe, http://www.joplinglobe.com

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