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Millstone Custom Homes led construction of an Ash Grove home in 2009 for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Homes to be built in Joplin will be smaller than those typically on the show.
Millstone Custom Homes led construction of an Ash Grove home in 2009 for ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition." Homes to be built in Joplin will be smaller than those typically on the show.

Somewhere to Call Home

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While companies near and far are lending support to Joplin in the wake of the May 22 tornado, two initiatives led by Springfield-area companies are focusing on giving Joplin residents places to call home.

Nixa-based home builder Sam Clifton of Millstone Custom Homes LLC, already was building homes in Joplin, but now, he’s getting ready to take his efforts to the extreme.

Clifton, who in 2009 was the lead builder for the construction of a home in Ash Grove for ABC’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” has been tapped as the general contractor to lead construction of seven Joplin houses in seven days for the show.

With the build sheduled Oct. 19–26, Clifton is marshalling a team of 9,000 skilled volunteers from Missouri and beyond to work around the clock to build the homes.

While Clifton couldn’t disclose the exact location of the lots, citing a confidentiality agreement with ABC, he confirmed they are together in a disaster area.

Clifton noted that the homes in Joplin won’t be the megahomes synonymous with “Extreme Makeover.”

Instead, they will be between 1,300 and 1,500 square feet apiece.

“These will be homes that will fit the lots in the neighborhood and will, hopefully, give some sort of style and look that others can use,” Clifton said. “We hope it helps this neighborhood get started again and off of the ground.”

Travis Miller, president of Nixa-based Travis Miller Homes, will be among local builders lending support in Joplin for the “Extreme Makeover” build. He knows what he’s getting into, having worked with Clifton on the Ash Grove build in 2009.

“I thought that was a once in a lifetime experience, but it’s now an opportunity to help Joplin out and help them get going again,” Miller said. “It was really a no-brainer.”

Team approach
With 8,000 homes left damaged or destroyed by the tornado, Joplin-based Home Builders Association of Southwest Missouri knew its 28 area builder-members would need help keeping up with the demand for housing, said Executive Officer Crystal Harrington.

The organization researched ways to bring builders to the city from Springfield, northwest Arkansas and Tulsa, Okla., inviting HBA members from those areas to join the Joplin group.

“We targeted these areas because we know there are criteria for joining the HBA in those areas that are similar to ours,” Harrington said, noting that builder membership grew to 81 in August, with 24 of those being from the Springfield area.

“It was a little different for some local builders to wrap their heads around, but they realized it was necessary to work side-by-side with them, and they have been accepting and welcoming,” she added.

For example, Charlie Kuehn, owner of Four State Homes in Joplin, is working on four residential projects with Clifton and Millstone.

“There’s plenty of work, and I can’t build everything. I realize that,” said Kuehn, who already has agreed to volunteer with the extreme build.

Harrington said many of the damaged or destroyed homes were in the $90,000 to $125,000 range, and Kuehn noted that rebuilding in some residential areas hit hardest by the tornado is off to a slow start.

“I think a lot of people are confused as to what to do. They don’t want to be the first house back on the block,” he said. “They’re afraid their neighbors may not be coming back.”

Bank-owned lots
Great Southern Bank Community Development Corp., a subsidiary of Springfield-based Great Southern Bank, also is throwing its support behind the construction of multiple homes in Joplin.  

Partnering with Campbell Construction and Carthage-based Construction Lending Inc., Great Southern is financing the $1.3 million construction of at least 10 homes in Joplin’s Woodridge subdivision. Those homes, which will each comprise 1,500 to 1,600 square feet, will be sold – at cost – to eligible buyers, said Great Southern Vice President Montie Taylor. The homes, which will have storm safe rooms, are expected to cost $128,000 to $138,000 apiece, with Springfield-based Herrman Lumber Co. supplying building materials at a discount.

The homes will be located south of the tornado damage in a subdivision with 40 existing homes, Taylor said. Great Southern owns the lots, and the community development corporation will hire Joplin contractors to build the homes, Taylor said.

Only homeowners whose homes were destroyed by the tornado are eligible to apply to purchase one of the Woodridge homes, and The Economic Security Corporation of Southwest Missouri, based in Joplin, will process the applications. Taylor said the only requirement for homeowners to qualify is having had a home destroyed in the tornado.

“Our goal is to have at least a couple of homes up before Christmas,” Taylor said. “We’re extremely confident this will be successful and if so, we hope to do more there.”[[In-content Ad]]

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