Kansas City taxpayers concerned about thousands of abandoned homes

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Abandoned and neglected properties are a growing problem in the Kansas City metro area. The city has identified more than 6,000 blighted properties in nearby neighborhoods and when it comes to the properties, Kansas City taxpayers all over the city are concerned.

In Antonio Lawson's neighborhood, five houses are boarded up on a single block.

"It's creepy. I've been hearing stuff in them. There could be homeless people inside," he said.

This year alone, the city has spent more than a million dollars on demolition. The money has barely put a dent in the city's abandoned properties.

"We are looking at how can we have a focus in renewing that urban land and having more rooftops and people who want to live in the city," Council Member Jermaine Reed said.

Neighborhood and Housing Services' David Park said attracting private investors is an important part of their plan.

"The city does not have to do 6,000 houses. What we have to do is enough to convince the private market that these are feasible project to do," Park said.

Mary Sapp agrees. She's lived in her Hyde Park neighborhood for 30 years and said the quality of the city's housing supply should concern all taxpayers.

"Property values increase when the houses around you increase in value. Safety increases the more neighbors that you have. It has to be affordable, it has to be good housing everybody should have a concern about that," Sapp said.

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