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South Plaza residents worry about possible collapse of 'dangerous' wall

South Plaza residents worry crumbling wall will collapse
Posted at 10:17 PM, Jul 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-27 18:49:33-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — There are growing fears that a crumbling section of a South Plaza neighborhood retaining wall will give way and hurt people.

"The degree to which it's fallen apart speaks for itself," Kate Marshall, president of the South Plaza Neighborhood Association, told KSHB 41 News on Tuesday.

It's not hard to spot the slanted portion of the wall with cracks throughout on the west side of Brookside Boulevard near East 51st street.

That's near a Whole Foods Market and the UMKC campus.

"Some of the materials started falling off in the last year, so it's definitely been on our radar as a concern," Marshall said.

A 311 complaint filed back in October first alerted the Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation Department, which is responsible for maintaining boulevards in the city.

The person who reported the problem with the wall said the collapsed section "may be considered an immediate hazard."

But KC Parks closed the case a few weeks later and it's unclear whether any repairs were made.

"It's an eyesore and it possibly could be dangerous to somebody if they get engaged with these rocks," Marshall said.

KC Parks Deputy Director Richard Allen provided a statement to KSHB 41 News through a spokesperson:

Brookside Boulevard road and retaining walls were built while neighborhood housing was being developed in this area. Roads, sidewalks and retaining walls were built by the City or Developer within the Right of Way. The developers passed these improvements onto the city that were in the ROW. The lots located along Grand drain towards this wall and water accumulates behind the wall and cold temperatures in the winter sometimes damage the mortar that holds the stones together in the retaining wall. Most of the wall have weeps holes that allow for drainage and sometimes they get clogged with debris.

The section of wall that is currently damaged will need to be repaired from the ground up to match the tops of adjacent walls. This project is currently not funded, and we will look for City Funding. Most funding for these types of projects comes from PIAC funding in the Council District that the project is located.
Richard Allen, deputy director of KC Parks

PIAC is short for the Public Improvements Advisory Committee.

"It's a unique process for Kansas City, Missouri, where the 1% sales tax fund is used to pay for projects that are recommended by residents in Kansas City, Missouri," Christina Hoxie, the PIAC 4th district representative, said.

Marshall highlighted the case to PIAC representatives Tuesday during one of the many public hearings they're hosting this summer.

"It's got to be right there at the top," Marshall said of the retaining-wall repairs. "I mean, this has got to be fixed. It's ugly. It's dangerous. It could get worse and we're about to have a streetcar terminus right here, so I'm sure the city is really interested in addressing it."

The PIAC application deadline is Aug. 31.

Following a lengthy process, proposals selected will be approved along with the city budget when it's passed next March.

It could take several months before work can begin.