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Wally Kennedy: New golf attraction planned in Webb City | Local News

You have heard about Topgolf in Rogers, Arkansas, and Overland Park, Kansas.

Well, something similar to a Topgolf is in the works for Webb City.

A group of local investors, led by George Michalopoulos, of Joplin, and Kaleb Marti, of Jasper, have purchased 20 acres of former mining land along Route 66 between Carterville and Webb City, where they plan to build a multimillion-dollar golf attraction.

It won’t be a Topgolf, but it will offer some of the same amenities.

“This will be entertainment for the whole family,” Michalopoulos said. “We’ll create areas for little kids and adult kids. It will be more homey, more community-based than a Topgolf.”

Plans for the first phase will develop 12 of the 20 acres. Chad Greer, with Corner, Greer and Associates of Joplin, is designing the attraction. The design will be presented to the city of Webb City for its approval within the next few months.

Before the project could move forward, a study of the site’s hydrology had to be conducted to ensure the property was not in a floodplain.

Virtually all of the property is above the floodplain.

The attraction will have a single-level area that is covered and will feature Topgolf technology for ball tracing. There will also be miniature golf and indoor golf. There will be VIP areas. The attraction will feature a restaurant that serves burgers, tenders, pizza and wings, and a bar.

“We will have large public areas and meeting spaces,” said Michalopoulos, who owns the Mythos and Social BTB restaurants in Joplin. “This thing is still evolving.”

The property is part of the Oronogo-Duenweg Mining Belt, a Superfund site that includes Joplin, Webb City and Carterville.

In 2007, the US Environmental Protection Agency launched a massive cleanup of the hundreds of former mining and smelting operations on the site that had contaminated soil, groundwater and surface water sediments with lead, zinc and cadmium. More than 10 million tons of surface mining wastes contaminated about 11,000 acres of the site.

To facilitate redevelopment of the Carterville-Webb City area, the EPA and the Missouri Highway and Transportation Department reached an agreement to build Route 249 through four miles of contaminated land on the site. The project reused mine wastes as fill material. The Route 249 bypass opened to the public in 2008.

The opening of the bypass has spurred the development of an enterprise zone north of Webb City’s roundabout along historic Route 66 between Webb City and Carterville. A hotel, retail centers and restaurants have been constructed there. More are planned, including a Flat Creek restaurant.

Michalopoulos said the site was chosen because of its proximity to Joplin, Webb City, Carl Junction and Carthage, and its ease of access because of Route 249.

The National Golf Foundation says interest in golf entertainment continues to grow. Nearly 25 million people visited nontraditional golf venues in 2021, and golf participation is the highest it’s been since 2012. About 25.1 million in the United States identify themselves as golfers. This the fourth straight year of increased participation.

May ArtWalk

The First Thursday ArtWalk, on Cinco de Mayo, will take place in eight indoor venues in downtown Joplin.

At the M&M Bistro, 612 S. Main St., Dawn Sticklen will perform on stage. At Club 609, 609 S. Main St., a reception will be held by Debbie Reed, who will show watercolors, oils and mixed media.

At Beast & Barrel, 530 S. Main St., work by painter and musician Scott Leeper will be displayed. At Plant Parenthood, 528 S. Main St., the artworks of Merlen White, Brent Skinner and Daria Claiborne will be featured. Painter Connie Miller will be present.

At the Urban Art Gallery, 511 S. Main St., a reception will be held for painter Philip Ledbetter in connection with his show. The gallery will also feature works by Linda Teeter, Helen Kunze and Kristin Girard. Music will be by Vagabond Grove.

Ron Erwin and Thao Nguyen will show photos from their international travels at 411 S. Main St. In the back room of the Joplin Avenue Coffee Company, 506 S. Joplin Ave., will be works by Danette Belote. The artisan market will feature Brittney Spradling, Deana Markus, Diana Friggle, Jared Cox, Mandy Stanley, Rachel Cabral, Brandon Moffet and Shawn Riley. Music will be by Tough Luck Chuck.

In the foyer of the Spiva Center for the Arts, 222 W. Third St., will be ArtWalk artists Connie Griffiths and Ashley Williams. The main gallery will feature photographs juried in the 2022 PhotoSpiva competition. The regional gallery will feature the 24th annual Jo Mueller Small Works Auction.

The ArtWalk’s 15th season is being sponsored by Fox Farms Whole Foods.

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