Kansas City and the police department want to put in a new East Patrol Division Station and Crime Lab Campus, but 14 residents are preventing the project from moving forward.
Council members decided at city hall to give it one more try before forcing people off their land by condemning the homes of those hold-outs. They said that is the last resort, but it's one they're now staring down in the name of progress, hoping a new police station will cut down on crime in the surrounding eastside area.
The neighborhood is one in transition with some homes having been left abandoned or reduced to vacant lots, while other people struggle to stay on, digging into their roots.
"A lot of people have been there all their lives, 30 plus years," Willa Stillman, a neighboring business owner, said.
The lot of homes in question is a 17-acre site spanning from 27th Street and Prospect Avenue to 26th Street and Brooklyn Avenue. There are nearly 130 lots in between the outlined streets and not all the neighbors are going quietly.
"I've been treated with a raw deal, they've only given me a very small amount for my house," homeowner Len Williams said.
The city is paying homeowners the highest of three appraisals on their property value, plus relocation costs. But some people said it's not enough and now 14 property owners are holding out and refusing to sell.
"People just want it to be fair. Just make it fair and people will go, that's all we're asking for," Williams said.
City Council members Thursday chose to wait another two weeks before voting on whether to condemn the homes of those 14 hold-outs. They're hoping to reach a deal with more people before moving to a lengthy court process that could delay the changes some neighbors are hoping for.
The changes include a $57 million police station and crime lab, replacing abandoned eyesores, as well as people's homes.
"I think it will change the atmosphere, the people that hang around these abandoned buildings will no longer be here," Stillman said. "And maybe the neighborhoods and the businesses around can come up and prosper again."
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