Unified Government pushes parole office to find new location, away from preschool

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Unified Government officials in Kansas City, Kan., have passed a resolution strongly opposing a state parole office that is expected to open in late March near Pandarama Preschool.

Parents such as Clarice Angelo feel like they are caught in the middle. Angelo brings her 2-year-old daughter to the preschool every day and doesn't want to have to take her to another daycare

"I just don't think it's a good idea. Just the fact of having criminals around babies," she said.

The Department of Correction said about 30 convicted felons, including sex offenders who they say are already in the community, are expected to visit the building daily. The state said the building will have security cameras and officers. The office would also sit across the street from the Kansas City, Kan., Police Department.

But parents like Clarice don't feel safe.

"Who's to say they won't take someone's car or hold this daycare hostage? You're putting employees in danger," she said.

Last year, Unified Government workers approved a building permit for the parole office. According to a spokesperson with the Kansas Department of Corrections, the state signed a 10-year lease for the building at 712 State Street which was the old Apple Market grocery store. But in the last couple of weeks, Unified Government officials have said they were unaware of the expected move. This week, Unified Government Commissioners passed a resolution strongly opposing the move of the office.

"The commissioners are working in unison with our legal department to find out if there are ways to legally stop it," Commissioner Tarence Maddox said.

But that may prove to be a tough fight. According to a spokesperson for the Unified Government and the Department of Corrections, the space is properly zoned for the parole office legally so the state is not required to solicit public comment before its move next to Pandarama. But as a courtesy, Unified Government commissioners wanted the state to engage with the community prior to their decision.

A spokesperson for the State Department of Corrections said the State has no plans to relocate at this time. The department also said it's open to listening to the ideas and recommendations of the Unified Government and hopes to continue communication with the community and government officials.

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