KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neighbors who live in the Hickman Mills area remain concerned and frustrated over the continued blight of buildings and trash being dumped around several shopping areas.
It's a story KSHB 41 News has highlighted for several years, and those who live in the area say it's getting worse.
"The city has failed this area as far as the blight that happens in this area," said Karry Palmer, chairman of the Hickman Mills United Neighborhoods.
Palmer pointed to several buildings near 87th and Blue Ridge Boulevard that have sat vacant for years with trash littered all around.
"It leads to people moving out, it leads to higher crime, it leads to worse school districts," Palmer said.
Other neighbors tell KSHB 41 News they feel ignored by the city.
"I’ve seen a lack of concern over the last 10 years for this area. It feels like we kind of get left behind," said resident Angela Clardy Forder.
Eddie Musallet is building a gas station next to a blighted building on Blue Ridge Boulevard and wishes the eyesore next to him would be demolished.
"Looks pretty bad next to the gas station," Musallet said. "I’d like to knock it down and build a nice shopping center here and make it all uniform."
Another problem residents say is the increase in the number of sideshows and burnouts in the empty parking lots.
"No one wants to move into a property where they are going to have to compete with daily racing and burnouts, and so it doesn’t make the property attractive for potential business owners," Clardy Forder said.
Both Loma Vista and the Robandee shopping areas have received multiple code violations from the city.
"This has always been a problem property right here, and we have been in constant contact with the property owner and the property management — we actually had the property owner fined in August because it was such a mess here," said John Baccala, Kansas City, Missouri, city housing and community development spokesperson.
Baccala says many of the property owners are from out-of-state.
On Aug. 20, the owner of the Robandee was fined.
"We actually had a code enforcement supervisor over here a week ago, and we saw crews out here cleaning, so we know it’s getting done when we ask the owner and the manager to get it done," Baccala said.
However, the trash keeps reappearing soon after clean-up as people illegally dump trash.
"It’s a crime of laziness, people just don’t want to do the right thing," Baccala said.
Baccala says one solution is for development to occur.
"It is ripe for redevelopment, and it’s just going to take the right set of circumstances, and everything is going to have to mesh together perfectly for that to happen, but that can happen," Baccala said.
To report someone illegally dumping, call 816-513-DUMP (3867).