Mercy's St. John's hospital once stood here and on May 22, 2011 it took a direct hit from an EF-5 tornado, the most powerful classification for a tornado. Its path of destruction continued to the east and at one point was nearly a mile wide, eventually claiming 161 lives, making it one of the deadliest tornados [sic - tornadoes] in American history.
In 2016, five years after complete devastation at this site, this park was dedicated utilizing Housing and Urban Development Community Development Block Grant funds by the City of Joplin. The land here was donated by Mercy Hospital and designed as a "passive" green space park for the leisurely relaxation of visitors to enjoy the landscape and natural setting. Green spaces also benefit the City and its residents by providing cleaner air and water, and ultimately creating a better quality of life.
Parks can also provide habitats for birds and other wildlife in an otherwise developed, urban landscape. Collectively, even small areas including residential yards add up to be very beneficial and can create corridors for some kinds of wildlife which help meet their resource needs when connected together.
What Features Does This Park Offer?
· Pond constructed for stormwater control and to provide water for wildlife. Natural ponds are uncommon in our area due to
geology, but we have many streams in Joplin including Joplin Creek, Shoal, & Turkey. Shoal Creek provides most of Joplin's water supply.
· Meadow, similar to the tallgrass prairie that once covered much of Western Missouri, dominated by native grasses and wildflowers, which provide food and shelter for grassland species and help absorb stormwater runoff better than mowed lawns.
· Open woodland with a mixture of native trees, shrubs, and prairie plants - similar to the savanna ecosystem that was also common in much of Missouri historically. Trees provide food and shelter for numerous wildlife, as well as help filter the air, improve air quality, absorb runoff and reduce soil erosion, and help moderate extreme summer temperatures in cities caused by all of the pavement.
· Walking paths allow access for everyone, including those with disabilities, to experience these natural features.
"Hope" Is the Thing
by Emily Dickinson
"Hope" is the thing with feathers—
That perches in the soul—
And sings the tune without the words—
And never stops—at all—
And sweetest—in the Gale—is heard—
And sore must be the storm—
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm—
I've heard it in the chillest land—
And on the strangest Sea—
never, in Extremity,
It asked a crumb—of Me.