KCMO works to get rid of vacant lots, homes - KCTV5

KCMO works to get rid of vacant lots, homes

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KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Boarded-up homes, buildings and vacant lots are visible all across Kansas City. Now the city says it's making progress in getting rid of the eyesores.

Many neighbors have complained about rundown and vacant properties for years, saying they are driving down their property values. One such neighborhood seeing the problem is the Ivanhoe area and it's something Margaret May, the executive director of the Ivanhoe Neighborhood Council, has been working to change for the last 12 years.

"We have some blocks where we may only have one or two houses so it's devastating," she said.

May took KCTV5's Dave Jordan through the Jim Nutter Park, located on the property where her office is housed. It was once an empty lot, but now is part playground, part herb garden. Its transformation wouldn't have been possible without the help of City Hall.

"We've been very, very pleased with what the city is doing, the plan that they have," she said.

Neighborhood Housing and Services is assigned the task of demolishing or selling off neglected buildings and clear away the lots. It presented a progress report to members of the City Council.

"The presence of those buildings in a neighborhood has a significant impact on the property values in the area, so it's certainly something that we want to address," said David Park with Neighborhood Housing and Services.

Park said demolition is usually a last resort and it's only done if the building is uninhabitable. Ideally the city would prefer to sell the buildings or homes because it creates a revenue stream.

"They're spending their money in Kansas City, they're paying utilities, they're paying taxes that you don't get from a vacant lot," he said.

May said either option is fine with her as long as the beauty of the area is maintained.

"We want the plan to be comprehensive, that the ones that can be rehabbed are rehabbed and that the ones that need to be torn down are torn down," she said.

So far this year the city has demolished 200 buildings. About 100 more are in receivership with the intention of putting them up for sale.

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