JOPLIN, MO.--- "We all interconnect with one another across these 3 state lines," states Clifford Wert, Co Chair Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative.
Combining 7 county resources was the topic of a presentation led by Steering Committee members of the Joplin Regional Prosperity Initiative.
"We have a great opportunity to attract and bring people to this 7 county area," states Wert.
They unveiled a 5 year plan to improve the economy, create higher paying jobs, build a better workforce, and improve the quality of life in Barton, Jasper, Newton, Cherokee, Crawford, Labette, and Ottawa counties.
"The resources that we have not in any individual city but the resources we have throughout the region I think will bring the ability to strengthen the region as a whole," states Pat Cedeno, WATCO Companies.
The goals are based on results from focus groups and online surveys from nearly 2,000 people in all 7 counties.
"It takes the people and their expectations of thinking what this community and what this area and regions can be," states Cedeno.
At today's meeting, committee members asked other public officials for their support and continued input. Community leaders say the plan could bring more businesses and people to Southwest Missouri.
"It's more attractive for people to come in and know that everyone is working together," states Richard Hilderbrand, Cherokee County Commissioner.
The proposed plan would tackle a number of economic issues.
"How are we doing in reducing poverty, how are we doing in increasing our wages, how are we doing in increasing our percentages of graduates," states Hilderbrand.
The Steering Committee hopes it will be a Spring board for more prosperity. The project will begin July 1st of next year. Committee chairs say they are still looking to hire a director to lead the project.