EDITORIAL: Time to get dump off Main Street

·3 min read

Sep. 16—City leaders need to address an eyesore that is degrading the appearance of one of the primary entry corridors to Joplin and diminishing the quality of life for residents in the area.

A controversial dumpsite disgraces the beauty of our community with its position overlooking a major route into Joplin from Interstate 44. Not only is it ugly, the site on a hill above Main Street adjoining a residential area on 34th Street also harms residents in the neighborhood of the fill site with the noise and dust caused by heavy trucks carrying construction debris — most recently broken asphalt according to the residents — to the site.

Formerly involved in a development deal that fell apart, then the site of a rock crushing operation, the spot where the Capri Motel used to sit on 34th and Main streets is designated as a dumpsite and has a permit to operate from the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. But that doesn't mean it was ever or is today a good idea to use the site in that way. In fact, it is serious misuse of the area that is a disservice to both residents and the city as a whole.

Additionally, the trucks have recently been moving along the city-posted 34th Street at Indiana Avenue as a no-truck zone. Joplin's assistant city manager, Tony Robyn, said the residential street can be used because the debris came from a construction project in that neighborhood, and the trucks, in such cases, may use the closest route to the dumpsite. Generally, the trucks are required to access the dump from Main Street as the designated truck route.

Neighborhood resident Phyllis Bickett-Wilson told us the asphalt-laden black dust blowing off the trucks and the dumpsite was so thick it clung to her house and took four hours to clean off the exterior and porch.

"This has been awful," she said of the noise and dust

While the construction debris may be regarded as "clean fill," if your yard and house were being inundated with black dust from trucks running through your neighborhood, you would regard it as anything but. And remember, this is right above the south end of Main Street.

Further, the eyesore that produces the noise and dust is driving residents from the neighborhood at the same time it is driving property values down. Arlene Nash, who lived in the neighborhood nearly 50 years and was only one house away from the dumpsite, recently sold her house largely to get away from the operation. She decided to sell because she did not want her great-grandchildren "playing in that area with all that dust on our yard" from the fill operation, she said. Also the winds kicked up so much dust that she could no longer sit outside on her deck.

The site was formerly used by the city for materials from some of its projects, but the city is no longer doing so. In 2018, residents of 34th Street brought complaints about the fill dump and problems associated with the truck traffic on their street to the City Council. The no-trucks designation was one of the results, but that alone has been inadequate.

It is time for city leaders to close this eyesore and stop blighting this neighborhood.