Consultant says Joplin is a model for recovery

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JOPLIN - More businesses, new schools and new homes- one drive through Joplin reveals a clear transformation from devastation to recovery. 

An EF-5 tornado struck the city in 2011, leaving behind 8,000 destroyed buildings and 161 lost lives. 

"You have a feeling in the back of your mind, 'Oh no this is going to kill our momentum, our growth,' but people stuck around," Joplin's planning and development director Troy Bolander said. 

Guarev Menon, managing director of capital projects and infrastructure at PricewaterhouseCoopers, said Joplin will be one of the most successful recovery stories they've seen. The city hired the company to help with recovery efforts following the natural disaster.

Bolander attributed the success to the citizens. 

"They had patience and confidence that Joplin would recover. That was the secret," he said. 

Joplin Mayor Gary Shaw remembered the Sunday after the storm. 

"With tears in their eyes, I encouraged everyone to give someone a hug and we did," he said. 

May 22, 2018 marks seven years since that emotional day.

"I think the anniversaries help us remember, but they also remind us we're moving on," Bolander said. 

The city has averaged building "just short of one new house per day" since the tornado, according to the city's 2016 fact sheet