CNN PRODUCER NOTE missyjenjen says Joplin set the standard for disaster recovery and rebuilding. She says a year ago she could not imagine how the city was going to even begin to pick up the pieces towards the path to recovery, yet she explains that there was a quick response to help clean the mess and rebuild the city. 'Many businesses were rebuilt within six to eight months of the disaster. The business district now almost looks as if nothing had ever ravaged that part of town,' she says. As Joplin approaches May 22, the date that marks the deadly tornado that destroyed many parts of the city one year ago, she says the overall emotion is reflection, ‘sadness at what was lost, and hope for the future,' she says.
- Jareen, CNN iReport producer
These photos were taken on May 20, 2012. I started on the east side of town and worked my way west to where the tornado started it's major damage. Along the way, you can see businesses on Range Line Road (such as Wal Mart, Academy Sports, and Home Depot) that had all been demolished by the tornado, but were all rebuilt within 6 to 8 months from the day the tornado hit. Traveling west down 20th Street, I was able to get photos of the empty spaces of where buildings used to be (Dillons grocery store, apartment complexes, houses). I came across a painted tree, a sample of the type of art work that has popped up throughout the affected areas of Joplin. There is of course what used to be Joplin "Hope" High School, which will be rebuilt at that location as well.
I started to go south towards 26th Street where I was able to get a shot of the St. Mary's Catholic Church cross that is still standing tall, as well as distant shots of St. Johns Hospital to the southeast. Once I made it to 26th and Maiden Lane, I stopped at Cunningham Park, right across the street from St. Johns Hospital and took some pictures of the once decimated, but now beautiful park.
To end my journey along the (reversed) path of the tornado, I took pictures of what is still left of St. Johns Hospital which is the biggest reminder still standing of that horrific day.