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Historic building collapse in the 18th and Vine district prompts calls to restore blighted buildings

Posted at 9:52 PM, Mar 17, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-17 23:19:01-04

KANSAS CITY, MO. — There's a renewed push to protect historic buildings after a more than century-old building collapsed in the 18th and Vine District on Monday.

Plywood currently wraps around most of the property covering up the damage. The property was called the House of Hits and was built around 1900.

Business owners nearby are frustrated at the lack of progress to help protect the historic buildings in the district.

"The building collapse is kind of a representation of what’s going on at 18th and Vine," 180V Barber Salon owner, Joey Thomas, said.

It's the deteriorating promises concerning to business owners like Thomas who takes pride in his community.

"This is the direct result of the lack of attention or money that’s needed to be pumped into 18th and Vine to help save the businesses and the restoration and just the beauty of the district," he said.

Back in 2016, Kansas City, Missouri, committed over $27 million to revamp the district. However, according to KCMO Councilwoman Melissa Robinson, only $7 million was spent so far.

"Although it is our darling it is also our step-child to the city when we look at investment," Robinson said.

This past summer, Robinson proposed a plan to invest $4 million into the district to restore blighted buildings and keep them from deteriorating. The House of Hits was slated for $268,000 to stabilize that property.

"Certainly we would have had an opportunity to prevent this from happening by investing a mere 268,000 dollars to whiteboard that facility," Robinson said.

The historic property was in the process of being transferred to a private developer, 1900 Vine Street LLC. But not in time to save the building.

"We hope that would be the last building to collapse I mean because we have other properties around here that are probably just as much as bad shape if not worse," Thomas said.

Robinson told 41 Action News, the ordinance to help restore the blighted buildings is expected to go in front of a council committee in May but with this latest collapse, hopes the council can start working on it now.