Lawmakers move to block KCK parole office near preschool

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Kansas lawmakers made a move to keep a state parole office from moving right next to Pandarama pre-school in Kansas City, Kan.

Kansas Representative Valdenia Winn put forth an amendment to a bill Wednesday to block funding for a state parole office within 1,000 feet of a childcare facility. The amendment was approved in the house 70 to 47. According to Representative Winn, the bill is expected to pass Thursday in the house.

Meanwhile, neighbors in the Turtle Hill Community in KCK who have been fighting against the parole office for months celebrated a small victory Wednesday.

“This goes to show that you can fight the government, you can affect change," Scott Murray said, president of the Turtle Hill Community Association.

As a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections said, it signed a 10-year lease with the owner of the space of the old Apple Market grocery story for about $1.5 million. According to the Kansas Department of Corrections, the department hasn’t started to pay for the lease. It said, however, the owner of the property has already put up money to renovate the building.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the Kansas Department of Corrections wrote, “The Kansas Department of Corrections after a competitive bid process saw a benefit to relocating to the neighborhood where a large amount of parolees already live.  By relocating downtown, we will be joining with a number of other public safety entities, such as the police, community corrections, court services, the federal parole office, and others, in serving parolees where they are already located.  The KDOC would be one more law enforcement tool for safety in the downtown Kansas City core.

Wednesday’s amendment to a budget bill has yet to go through the Senate conference committee. Neighbors hope Wednesday’s vote will lead to actual change. 

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