Neighbor's tree destroys KCK woman's backyard, no one will remove it

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Maxine Crowder has owned her home for five decades and is frustrated that her neighbor's tree has ruined her backyard. She's even more upset her efforts to get help have gone nowhere.

Maxine described her neighborhood as beautiful when she first moved in 50 years ago. Now, the backyard she was once proud of is ruined by her neighbor's tree.

She's tried to get help but nothing is being done. That's not how it's always been, though.

"When I moved into this neighborhood, we couldn't even have a blade of grass out of place, we couldn't because they would write you a citation," Crowder said.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County, Kan., slapped her neighbor with code violations but still, Crowder says nothing has been done to the tree.

Crowder's granddaughter Melanie Dudley described her grandmother as an amazing person who has done so much for the community and neighborhood she loves so much. Dudley said Crowder lead a petition in town to prevent the pool from closing and would organize block parties for the neighborhood kids.

"She's always been a big part of the community, that's why we wanted someone to come out here and help her for one time. Instead of always her helping somebody else, somebody help her and let her get a chance to feel how it feels to get helped as well," Dudley said.

Crowder said she doesn't want to move. It's where she raised her seven children, helps care for her 100 grandchildren and 50 great grandchildren.

Still, the city says damage from tree debris is a private dispute between neighbors.

Crowder says part of the tree is left standing and is rotted. She's just waiting for the day it falls on her home.
"I don't want to give it up, I want to possibly die here... but not by the tree!" she said.

The Code Enforcement Office says if Crowder can prove the tree is a hazard, they can issue a court summons. Whether the tree gets removed is up to a judge.

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