Finding future for historic building on Gillham leaves limited options

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Finding a future for one of the city's beautiful old barns has a long list of requirements. 

And In these first few days of summer, families like the Vanderpools are busy making memories.
"We've been here pretty much all week," said Hyde Park resident Will Vanderpool, as his two kids splashed in the shallow pool just off of Gillham Road. But just down the road on the corner of 39th Street, memories are fading for the beautiful, but blighted, building. It was built as a barn for the horses that pulled the city's lawn mowing blades.

"I think they ought to tear it down," said Vanderpool of the building with broken windows and a tattered roof.

But tearing it down is one of several things Kansas City's Parks and Recreation Department officials say they can't do. The brick and limestone treasure is a historic building from 1905 and protected by city ordinance.

"It requires us to preserve it," nodded Forest Decker of the Parks and Recreation dSepartment. "But why wouldn't we want to preserve such a beautiful historic building, anyway?"

There is no money to renovate and they can't sell it. Selling any park property requires an expensive election.

On top of preservation, new tenants will have to pay to fix it up -- that's why one deal already fell through. And this isn't for rent for just anyone. The new occupant must be a group like a non-profit, providing some kind of service to the community.

Those typically don't have big renovation budgets, but city leaders hope to find a long-term tenant with a big imagination.

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