Kansas City battle against blight making good on promises - KCTV5 News

Kansas City battle against blight making good on promises

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Wood says a dozen of the homes have been revitalized and the owners have moved in. (KCTV5) Wood says a dozen of the homes have been revitalized and the owners have moved in. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Nearly two years ago, Kansas City began a battle against blight, promising to get rid of eyesores in neighborhoods throughout the city.

Now, city leaders are saying that goal is in sight.

In 2016, city officials issued $10 million in bonds to tear down every one of the nearly 900 structures on the dangerous buildings list.

Officials say nearly 700 of the buildings have either been demolished or rehabbed and the other 200 are now in various stages of the process with asbestos removal or awaiting demolition.

Residential demolitions cost between $8,000 to $10,000. But, some firms took down structures free of charge.

According to John A. Wood, Director of Kansas City Neighborhood and Housing Services, it’s important to eliminate these eyesores from the community.

“Vacant, abandoned properties are a problem. Dangerous buildings are a problem. We can’t have a strong valuable housing policy. We can’t have a strong and viable neighborhood if we have these kinds of properties that are posing a danger and a detriment to our community,” Wood said.

Several of the blighted buildings were sold for only $1 during the Kansas City Land Bank’s One-Dollar Home Sale. Over 40 homes were bought during the sale. Purchasers had to promise to revitalize the homes.

Wood says a dozen of the homes have been revitalized and the owners have moved in.

Laurie Schwab and her husband are some who purchased their home, which was originally on the demolition list, for $1.

“It was in really bad condition,” she said. “There had been a fire inside. When we took the old siding off, most of the outside was rotten.”

Though there is still work to be done on the inside, Schwab said that when it’s finished the whole renovation will have cost them just under $30,000.

“For almost a brand new house now, that’s been redone, that’s actually a great deal,” she said.

For Schwab, she saw a project she’s dreamed of doing since she was 18-years-old and now it’s now one she can be proud of for the rest of her life.

“I’ve learned a lot and it’s been really rewarding,” she said.

“In one way, it saves the city money in terms of having to tear down a property,” Wood said. "Then it also shows the possibility and the power of people who can see things that others may not see. She saw a castle there, a home for herself and she was able to turn it into something that she could be proud of for the rest of her life.”

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