Those living near vacant KCPS buildings want to see change - KCTV5 News

Those living near vacant KCPS buildings want to see change

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Those who live near 30 of Kansas City Public School's vacant buildings - and have watched them deteriorate for more than a decade - want the buildings to be used to improve their neighborhood rather than drag it down.

Wednesday, those who live near the former Sanford B. Ladd Elementary will learn who may be interested in buying the building. Those who live near boarded up buildings like it said it's time something positive moved in next door.

"It just makes me ill to see so many vacant houses, closed schools and boarded up places," Charlene Burditt said.

Burditt was born and raised in Kansas City and is a former Oak Park Neighborhood Association president.

"I watched it deteriorate. I was disgusted because of that so I decided I would work on the community and see what I could do," she said.

Burditt wants the closed Sanford B. Ladd Elementary School to once again be used to benefit the neighborhood.

"I would think it would be ideal for youth, something to get them off those streets," Burditt said.

If not a youth center, she sees the possibility for the building to be turned into senior housing or a combination of the two.

"It's large enough they could have a senior citizens center there also," Burditt said.

Just a few miles away, other neighbors are hoping to turn the vandalized, vacant Greenwood School into a thriving part of the community. Currently, beer bottles and graffiti litter the former school, located at East 27th Street and Monroe Avenue.

"Looters have gone through and took the piping out, all the metal out and the plumbing. It is just opened up to homeless people, birds and rats," said Byron Smith, who works near the building.

School officials said community members have reached out to the district with growing concerns over the safety of the site.

Smith thinks the Greenwood School would also be ideal for a nursing home. Many other neighbors have asked the district to consider demolition and Smith agrees that's another viable option.

"I hope they use the space," he said.

According to the school district's repurposing website, the Greenwood facility was closed in 1997. More than 60 percent of the population has moved away since its peak in 1960.

The Ladd Elementary neighborhood has also seen a large population decline and the large portions of those living in the neighborhood are over the age of 65.

District leaders will meet with members of the Ladd and Greenwood communities at two separate meetings within about a week of each other.

The Ladd meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Brush Creek Community Center, located at 3801 Emanuel Cleaver II Blvd.

The Greenwood meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on May 1 at the Lucile H. Bluford Library, located at 3050 Prospect Ave.

Click here to keep up to date on the status of various schools and their repurposing.

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