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Discussion continues in Joplin on new justice center location

The new justice center would increase workspace and allow the department to hire a new forensics investigator. Due to a lack of space, JPD cannot currently hire this position. The new construction would also allow covered parking for the department's fleet of patrol cars, allowing both the cars and officers to be protected from severe weather and helping protect the vehicles from sleet, ice and snow.

The Joplin City Council held an extra work session Monday night, in addition to their bi-weekly meetings. One of the two topics on the agenda: A new justice center.

Discussions continued regarding the redevelopment of the Joplin Police Department and courthouse near the intersection of 3rd Street and S. Pennsylvania.

The council was presented with seven options to choose from. Members had to select their top three to discuss at future council meetings. The costs of the project range between $29.4 million and $54 million.

All of the plans call for constructing a new fire department either connected to the new justice center or across the street, south or east of the existing center. Council Member Josh DeTar shared his thoughts Monday night.

“I’m really concerned, I guess that’s my thought is. I mean, everybody is looking at these, to think about, that parking for Red Onion, I don’t know who else uses that parking spot," he said. "People who are working in the courts or in the Justice Center. I don’t want to move that fire station over there. It takes away all the parking and the public parking spots.”

Option two, which would build a new fire station in what is currently the parking lot directly across the street from the current justice center, received the most votes from the city council with seven. Option 5 received six votes, and Option 7 received five votes.

No permanent decisions were made last night regarding the new justice center, and discussions will continue.

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Fred Fletcher-Fierro