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Residents fed up with trash contributing to blight in one KCMO neighborhood

KCMO East 60th Terrace Trash
Posted at 10:34 PM, Aug 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-29 23:49:13-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residents in the Swope Parkway-Elmwood neighborhood are upset with the trash on sidewalks and properties that they say contributes to blight in their community and would like to see more enforcement and clean-up efforts.

There's litter almost everywhere when looking around on East 60th Terrace between Jackson and Elmwood Avenues.

"If this is your block, you should have some pride in where you’re staying," said Merlon Ragland, who lives and owns property in the neighborhood. "If you have rental property here, or if you're trying to sell your home, you could not. I mean, this would be unappealing."

Ragland and community leaders believe the block is a microcosm of the issue that plagues the neighborhood.

"This street looks horrible. If you look at all this junk going up and down the streets, people just throw the trash out. They don't even put it in the sack," said Cynthia Canady with the Swope Parkway Elmwood Neighborhood Association.

Some houses are vacant, others seemingly so.

Ragland points to one house, 4230 E. 60th Terrace, as being one of the problems.

The city says code inspectors have been out multiple times and have cited the homeowner for nuisance violations.

KSHB 41 News spoke with the homeowner, Jay Tansey, who blamed this eyesore on his previous tenants who moved out eight months ago.

Tansey said health issues have prevented him from cleaning up.

"I just got out of the hospital a week ago, so I'll start on it tomorrow, though," Tansey said.

KCMO Neighborhood and Housing Services said there's no reason for trash to pile up.

"So many of these things are easily taken care of and would be taken care of by the city if they do nothing more than make a phone call," said John Baccala, spokesperson for KCMO Neighborhood and Housing Services. "They'll pick up appliances. They'll pick up these types of things. You're allowed two trash bags a week."

The department said it's taking the steps to get the property cleaned up, the items removed from the right of way and will try to recoup the cost.

Residents who face similar issues on the block are encouraged to report through 311, but there's a big hurdle.

"We have 45 code enforcement officers in the city of Kansas City, Missouri, roughly. We have roughly 13,000 code cases across the city, do the math," Baccala said. "That's a lot for our code enforcement officers to be able to ride herd on one specific home or property."

Even so, Ragland hopes to see a cleaner neighborhood sooner rather than later.

"Well, I’m hoping that they’ll make some changes to the way they handle this system that they have going because it's not working," Ragland said.