Joplin, Mo. Digs Out from Debris Two Months After Tornado

By ALAN SCHER ZAGIER | July 26, 2011

Signs of recovery are emerging in Joplin after a deadly May 22 tornado that devastated the city. Now, officials are considering how to improve Joplin while rebuilding it.

More than half of the nearly 2 million cubic yards of debris left by the EF-5 twister has been hauled away. Major retailers along a ravaged commercial corridor have built temporary quarters or entirely new stores.

The real estate market is bustling as displaced homeowners snatch up vacant houses. Meanwhile, city officials and residents are pondering whether to rebuild with stronger construction codes, environmentally friendly designs and public amenities that would modernize Joplin but lead to more costs and delays.

The trade-offs involved are posing some difficult choices in a city where 159 people were killed and more than 7,000 houses destroyed.

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