Peter Benton and Elizabeth Watson of Pennsylvania-based Heritage Strategies was hired by the commission and provide a draft of the updated plan. The Globe reported:
A priority, Benton said, is to create and monitor a list of threatened historic buildings until they can be renovated and placed back in use. Union Depot would be at the top of the list, he said, as well as places such as the Olivia Apartments, which is now under contract by an architect who has an eye on restoring the building for upscale apartments. […]
Downtown needs to be a city priority, he said, and bring more visitors to downtown by having things to do related to Route 66.
Ron Hart, director of the Route 66 chamber, said he believes the city should hold an annual Route 66 heritage festival.
Benton said Joplin was so focused on recovery after the devastating tornado of 2011, historic preservation essentially was set on the back burner. With the recovery approaching its fifth year, Benton urged the city to make preservation a priority again.
When the updated draft is finished, it will be submitted to the city and the commission for adoption.
I believe Joplin has done a much better job playing up its Route 66 heritage than even 10 years ago. But many Route 66 communities have stepped up their tourism game since the release of the Route 66 Economic Impact Study in 2012. Joplin simply needs to do more to stand out.