Storm tours set to show progress

The Joplin Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has released a map depicting the path taken by the EF5 tornado that ravaged much of the city last spring.

The map was created upon the requests of many volunteers and tourists who wanted an accurate illustration of how the City of Joplin was effected, and facts about the aftermath.

In the months following the May 22 tornado, citizens of Joplin have noticed an overwhelming number of out-of-town travelers driving slowly along the sides of the road, cameras out, gawking at the destruction.

Some citizens have shown concern that the map will draw more tourists into Joplin. Zach Sewell, sophomore finance major, says, “I’m sure that the city of Joplin had no ill intent in mind when publishing the map.

“However I find the map to be insensitive to people affected by the tornado.”

Patrick Tuttle, Director for the CVB, says that it was “never intended as a marketing tool,” but rather it was “designed as an informational tool for the people who are already coming to town.”

Tuttle says, “there are already people on the highways coming to town who want to see what an EF5 tornado will do to a community.”

Lynn Onstot, public information officer for Joplin is, said “there are people who stop in Joplin and want to see the cross at St. Mary’s and other iconic places … this provides a way for them to safely get in and out of town.”

Travelers who are driving through Joplin and have heard about the tornado can now have one map that shows the effected areas and some iconic structures that were destroyed.

On the back side of the map is both a brief account of the tornado and a brief history of Joplin, which visitors can use to familiarize themselves with Joplin and the actual facts about what happened May 22. Included in the information is a message from Joplin City Manager Mark Rohr.

He says, “Although we realize there is interest in what Joplin has been through, the real story is how we responded to the adversity we faced.”

 “If anything (the map) is more about recovery tourism,” says Tuttle.

“We’re proud  of what has happened with the recovery, we’re proud about the fact that our citizens are holding themselves together and we’re moving forward in the best way possible.”

The city is currently out of maps, but more information about them can be found by contacting the Convention and Visitors bureau at (417) 625-4789.