FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 5, 2018
The aggressive plan introduced in 2016 by Mayor Sly James and City Manager Troy Schulte to raze or restore more than 800 dangerous buildings over a two-year period is reducing blight and helping to revitalize neighborhoods all over Kansas City.
In less than two years, every building on the original Dangerous Buildings list has been demolished, rehabilitated or put into the pipeline for some type of constructive action. What also makes this massive mission notable is having approximately $2 million of the $10 million dedicated to fund the program still in the bank. These funds will be used on those structures listed before May 1, 2016.
To mark the occasion, Mayor James, Schulte and other city officials on Thursday gathered in front of Laurie Schwab’s home at 5821 East 29th Terrace. Schwab’s home is one of several success stories surrounding this two-year initiative. Her home, bought during the KCMO Land Bank’s $1 Home Sale, was on the original demolition list until she completely rehabbed the house from the ground up.
Part of the incentive to buy a $1 home was the City’s promise to reimburse homeowners up to $8,500 for their restorative efforts. Schwab was presented a ceremonial check at Thursday’s event.
When the program launched, more than 800 buildings were on the list. That number grew to nearly 900 because emergency demolitions were added. The City removed 720 buildings from the list due to demolitions, rehabilitation or private owners taking care of code violations. The rest are in various stages of the process (abatement, asbestos removal, awaiting demolition). The first building on the list was a former restaurant on the corner of 60th and Troost, which was razed on June 1, 2016.
“We took a decidedly more aggressive approach,” Schulte said, “and it has given the City a chance to get in front of the problem. Of course, more buildings get added every year but this gives us a fighting chance to stay on top of the problem, rather than always playing catch-up.”
The $10 million was considerably more than the $800,000 a year the City had previously allocated for demolitions, but included hundreds more properties. Residential demolitions cost between $8,000 and $10,000 each, but several private firms took down structures free of charge, including Kissick Construction (more than 60) and Industrial Salvage & Wrecking.
Questions from the media can be directed to Neighborhoods and Housing Services Department Communications/Community Liaison John Baccala at 816-513-3202 or by email.