Hundreds of dangerous buildings in Kansas City to be demolished, thanks to new sales tax

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - More than 1,000 buildings in Kansas City are considered dangerous according to the city's dangerous building demolition program.

Some of these buildings have been on the list for years. The city plans to demolish 200 of the worst buildings this year. A city spokesperson tells us the reason some of the buildings have been on the list for so long is because they have had a hard time finding the owners. The challenge the city faces is some of the owners change the title so they don't have to pay for the cost of tearing them down.

Last fall, voters in Kansas City passed a parks sales tax that is helping the city fund demolition of these vacant homes and buildings to get rid of the blight.

The old St. Francis Seraph Catholic Church at 801 N. Agnes is on the city's dangerous buildings list. The church has been empty for several years, and it's in such a state of disrepair there is no saving it.

Pete Espinosa has lived down from the church for most of his life. As a child he was baptized in the church, and he got married on the property.

"It was real nice," Espinosa said. "It was real taken care of. The priest took care of it. They can't do (anything) with it now, just tear it down."

According to the city, the church will be torn down by the end of the year.

About 20 of the dangerous buildings are in the Ivanhoe Neighborhood. Margaret May, executive director of the neighborhood council, is ready for the blight to be gone.

"We have folks who are vagrants that who will break into them. They do illegal drug activity there, there's prostitution that goes on so it's really, really bad thing for the neighborhood and for the people who live near them," May said.

City crews already tore down several structures, including two along Garfield Avenue where the neighborhood council got to work by planting grass.

"We can do something useful with a vacant lot, but a vacant house that is beyond repair there isn't anything you can do and it's just a terrible thing for the neighborhood," she said.

Since last fall, city crews have cleared 70 properties. They hope to tear down 200 by the end of this year.

To read the city's complete list of dangerous buildings, go to

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