A step in the right direction

Our Opinion

For anyone who doesn’t know, earlier this week, Missouri Southern and the city of Joplin announced that a federal grant has been approved for the purpose of building a walking trail from MSSU to the Northpark Mall area.

Pretty cool, right?

Even better, the only expense for Southern will be paying for some lights so the trail doesn’t become a dangerous place.

And they’re even looking to use solar lights to avoid sky-high utility bills. How economically sound.

It will be the University’s job to police the area to further ensure student safety. This may spread what seems to be an already thin University Police Department even thinner, but, as far as we can tell, that’s the only drawback.

And, if things go as hoped, the results will be well-worth the trade off, we think.

What has Southern always lacked?

A true and real connection to the Joplin and surrounding communities.

We think this is the first step, pardon the pun.

Making it easier for the students to get into the community from which Southern is otherwise somewhat isolated could be huge.

We don’t mean to say that no one in the community has supported the school, but Joplin and Pittsburg definitely view their respective schools differently.

It’s not exactly breaking news, but Pittsburg doesn’t exist without PSU. Joplin and Southern just don’t have that same connection.

That alone has been a turn-off for numerous high school seniors deciding on their future school.

We don’t mean to say that a little asphalt and a bridge is going to fix the problem overnight, but it’s a start. And a good effort.

It’s a sales game, essentially.

We have to have something that we can show these kids to make them actively want to come here. Not just to consider it, to want it.

We hate to admit it, but Pitt State is a pretty damned good example of what an incoming college student wants.

The higher-ups at Southern appear to finally get that.

With last semester’s Paint the Town movement, various campus improvement projects, and, finally, this direct link between school and town, it looks like we’re on the right track.

Even more important than the effort MSSU has made has been the reception that effort has been met with. Big things are coming.

And they’re coming soon.