BLUE SUMMIT, Mo. — A project to renovate a vacant school building in the unincorporated town of Blue Summit has left some worried about what will take its place.
The old Stark School has been neglected for about two decades, and it’s now tattooed with graffiti and scarred by broken windows, inside it’s completely trashed.
The 4.4 acre site will be transformed into a place for Federal prisoners to go right before being fully released into the public.
Private California-based company KADO Partners LLC will build and monitor the halfway house.
Plans filed with Jackson County show the project housing 130 prisoners - 115 men and 15 women - who are mostly non-violent criminals.
The halfway house will have a payroll of about $2 million and a construction budget of $8 million.
There will be about 30 security monitors who are not armed.
Some who live near the area are concerned about the project.
“I'm very upset over it,” neighbor David Myers said. “Criminals getting to be right across the street is a big concern of mine.”
Myers said he just adopted his two granddaughters and fears for their safety.
“The little ones in the house, it's putting them in danger," he said. "It's putting a lot of people in danger."
The Intercity Fire station is also right across the street from the building.
Chief Jeff Jewell favors improving the building.
“Not only is it an eyesore, it's kind of the pillar of the community," Jewell said. "When they get it cleaned up, it will be nice to have something nice in this area."
Right now, Jewell said the abandoned building attracts a lot of crime.
“Prostitution, drug activity - both dealing, selling and making - gangs going in and out of there, a lot of squatters go in there and light fires,” Jewell said.
While Jewell understands some concern over the halfway house, he believes it’s an overall benefit to the community.
“That building is supposed to generate about $18,000 a year in taxes, which would go to the Independence School District, the fire district and everybody else gets their part in taxes,” Jewell said.
KADO partners said no sex offenders will be allowed in the halfway house, calming some neighbors' concerns.
Developers plan to open the halfway house in two years.