Wally Kennedy: New intersection open to traffic

·4 min read

Jul. 29—The new intersection at East 32nd Street and John Q. Hammons Boulevard is open to traffic, but the traffic signal had not been fully activated as of Wednesday.

The new intersection is part of 32nd Street Place, a $188 million mixed-use project that is under development on about 75 acres south of 32nd Street and east of Range Line Road. This is where Menards, a home improvement store, is to be built on land north of Sam's Club and west of Hammons.

As part of the project, Hammons Boulevard was upgraded with new lighting, paving, curbs and gutters, and turn lanes from where it begins on South Range Line Road and ends at East 32nd Street.

The prolonged closure of the north end of Hammons, where the new intersection has opened, contributed to traffic congestion in and around Sam's Club at 36th Street and Range Line. The opening of the intersection will help alleviate some of that congestion.

Up next is the construction of multiple villa-style apartment buildings. Ross Construction, Springfield, recently applied for construction permits from the city for eight units along Hammons that were valued at $34.5 million.

No word yet from Menards about its plans.

Closed but not forgotten

Ichiban, once the premier house of sushi in Joplin, has closed. The restaurant was opened by the Frank Liu family in 2003 in the Southside Shopping Center, 2914 E. 32nd St.

The closure of this restaurant is a culinary loss for Joplin. It offered 70 variations of sushi, plus traditional Japanese dishes. My favorite for lunch was the bento box, which included a bowl of miso soup, a salad with ginger dressing, rice, a nice helping of chicken teriyaki and a California sushi roll. That's a lot of food — healthy food at that — for less than $10.

Ichiban means "the best" in Japanese. It was the best sushi in Joplin and, in my humble opinion, a contender for best in the Midwest.

Reminder

The Downtown Sidewalk Sale, sponsored by Mid America RV, will take place from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday. Main Street will be closed from Fourth Street to Seventh Street.

The shopping event will offer live music, food and cocktails, and a bounce house for the kids.

This is an opportunity to look for some deals from downtown merchants, like Sophie, Blue Moon and Pearl Brothers.

Lori Haun, executive director of the Downtown Joplin Alliance, said: "This annual event has been taking place for more than 60 years. For some of our downtown businesses, this is the biggest sale day of the year. It's a great opportunity to check out new downtown businesses and visit old favorites for some great deals."

August ArtWalk

This month's ArtWalk will take place from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday at several venues in downtown Joplin.

At Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. Third St., the foyer will feature painter Rachel Cabral and mixed-media artist Brooks-Elizabeth Billings. Showing in the main gallery is "Rhapsody: the Urban Fantasy Paintings of Rob Mango." The regional and upstairs galleries will feature local artists celebrating 150 years of Joplin.

At Joplin Avenue Coffee Co., 506 S. Joplin Ave., Amber Mintert's mixed-media works will be shown. A reception is set for 5:30 p.m.

Other ArtWalk artisans in the backroom are photographer Shawn Riley, and painters Jared Cox, Mandy Stanley, Deana Markus, Ashley Williams, Cindy Griffiths and M. Bradley Peters. Music will be by Tough Luck Chuck.

At Club 609, 609 S. Main St., Jim and Diana Bray will show "The Vanishing Landscape." A reception starts at 5:30 p.m.

At Beast & Barrel, 530 S. Main St., Justin Kidston will show colorful landscape paintings. Next door at Plant Parenthood, works by Marta Churchwell, Merlen White, Daria Claiborne, Connie Miller and Brent Skinner will be shown.

At Urban Art Gallery, 511 S. Main St., paintings by Liz Darling will be shown. A reception starts at 5:30 p.m. Music will be by Vagabond Grove.

At Ron Erwin and Thao Nguyen Photography, 412 S. Main St., colorful travel landscapes and portraits will be featured.

Contact Wally Kennedy at wkennedy@joplinglobe.com.