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$1 home lots program hopes to revitalize Washington Wheatley neighborhood

Housing Accelerator Program hopes to revitalize Washington Wheatley neighborhood
Posted at 6:38 AM, May 16, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A new program in Kansas City hopes to shine some attention on vacant lots in the Washington Wheatley Neighborhood.

The Housing Accelerator Program comes at a time where many residents in Washington Wheatley say it's needed.

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“It needs attention because we’ve been doing several things in the neighborhood to try to mitigate litter," Robin Humphrey said.

Humphrey has lived in the neighborhood for over a decade, she said the community is what has kept her there.

"Washington Wheatley is a family-friendly neighborhood. It's a neighborhood that we see people playing in the park, and it brings us together," Humphrey said.

Despite a growing community, the neighborhood currently has 47 vacant lots. The empty lots have caused trash to pile on the streets, causing lots of concerns throughout the neighborhood. Housing Accelerator Program initiated by councilwoman Melissa Patterson-Hazley hopes to spearhead those problems.

“I live in the 3rd district obviously and I personally have noticed that we have an incredible amount of vacant lots in the community," Patterson-Hazley said.

The program will allow winning bids to purchase a lot of land for $1. The program is a way to accelerate the process of getting the land into the hands of developers by removing some barriers and restrictions from the city.

“Abating the blight is going to get you a more populated neighborhood," Patterson-Hazley said. " It's where neighbors can look out for each other, they can build a community.”

The project spans from 18th Street to 27th Street and Prospect Avenue to I-70. With a vision in mind, councilwoman Patterson-Hazley said it's a step towards rebuilding neighborhoods in Kansas City.

“I'm hoping hundreds of houses in five years. We have over 3,000 opportunities in the third district for houses, leveraging vacant lots," Patterson-Hazley said.

It will take months before there is any visible progress in the neighborhood, and it will take longer than a year and a half to complete the first project, but residents like Humphrey said it's the start to a new neighborhood.

“It's going to bring back life to the neighborhood. Those blocks that are vacant and people are absent, there's going to be life there," Humphrey said.