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'It’s about time': Parade Park Homes residents look to what's next after city purchases complex

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Posted at 7:40 PM, Mar 13, 2024
and last updated 2024-03-13 20:40:22-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A number of residents at Parade Park Homes are feeling relieved after the city purchased the property and approved a $275 million redevelopment project on Monday.

“I feel relieved that the tension, the anxiety, the unknown, has been addressed, and we’re moving forward,” said Carrie Miller, who has been living at Parade Park for 47 years.

KSHB 41 followed up with Miller after hearing her concerns about the complex's future back in January.

“You’ve been here so long,” Miller said. “You either use it or lose it.”

Miller is one with her home.

Every holiday, she decorates inside and outside her unit.

This time of year, her Easter decorations were in full effect. At the front of her home, there’s a sign that reads, "This is our happy place."

“We have a yard, I have a garden, I have flowers, so it’s been like a house, but I know that there’s going to have to be a change," Miller said.

That change began when the city bought the property from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development at a foreclosure sale.

Another long-time resident, Lynn Williams, attended Monday’s sale at the Jackson County courthouse with her sister, Debra, who also lives in the complex.

Williams spoke with KSHB 41 after the city announced its decision to bid on the property.

"It took all of two minutes," Williams said. “Once they said, ‘Going once, going twice, sold.' I was like, 'It’s over.'"

Flaherty and Collins Properties and Twelfth Street Heritage are collaborating on the $275 million redevelopment plan.

Current residents received the preliminary redevelopment plan in late February, which details income limits and unit breakdowns.

READ | Preliminary redevelopment plan for Parade Park Homes

The companies told the residents that the redevelopment will include 1,065 affordable and market-rate apartment homes in “varying sizes and configurations.”

The new complex will also provide “affordable homeownership opportunities with 60 for-sale units.”

Existing residents will get seniority to decide whether or not they’d like to stay at the complex based on how long they have been at Parade Park Homes.

Twelfth Street Heritage confirmed that the complex no longer operates as a co-op. After the sale, the groups worked to convert “a little over 150 residents” still with the property to leases.

Residents will have to relocate because redevelopment requires deconstruction of the current buildings.

Twelfth Street Heritage confirmed there is a relocation specialist to help with this process, which will take place in three separate phases.

Parade Park redevelopment phases
Parade Park's redevelopment will take place in three, geographically-based phases.

Residents located in Phase 1 would be temporarily relocated into vacant units elsewhere on the site that the owners deem “comparable, decent, safe and sanitary” until new units are available.

The companies stressed to residents that final relocation plans “will be created with input from resident meetings and third-party experts.”

“When you’re open to hear what I have to say and listen to us, that’s very important to us,” Miller said. “As seniors, it’s really important that you hear what I said.”

The new owners met with residents at a town hall meeting Tuesday, where they explained what’s to come, and residents were encouraged to apply for HUD-authorized Tenant Protection Vouchers, which are now facilitated by the Housing Authority of KCMO.

Both Miller and Williams applied and are waiting to see if they are eligible, but the city says ineligible residents will still be able to live in an affordable unit after redevelopment.

Miller and Williams say they appreciate the transparency they have received thus far, and they’d like it to continue, particularly when it comes to input on what would be accessible for senior citizens.

Williams has been in favor of bungalows, or a layout without stairs.

“I just want everything to be efficient,” Williams said. “We’ve had roof issues, people had ceilings falling in on them, we had a guy walk in, he walked into water, I mean, you know, it’s about time.”

She also said people bought up concerns about what the new complex would be named.

Williams says for her, the name is indicative of all that led up to this point, and she’d like the name to be a new slate.

“I do not want whatever they put down here called Parade Park,” Williams said. “I have, I guess, a bad taste in my mouth about what happened to Parade Park that happened that did not have to happen. So since we’re going forward, let’s go forward with something else.”

Williams mentioned people made suggestions in the meeting about having plaques or pictures dedicated to Parade Park’s history in the new complex that would at least remind people what was there, but as of now, the name is one of the things still undecided.

Twelfth Street Heritage says start date for the redevelopment is still to be determined.

However, the companies did speak to the balance between historic preservation and redevelopment.

“The team also understands the need for cultural historic preservation,” Flaherty & Collins and Twelfth Street Heritage said in a statement, which was also given to residents. “Planning for this will be completed in partnership with Parade Park residents.”

Partnership is key for Miller and Williams.

They say it’s what’s kept neighbors connected as friends all these years, and it’s what they believe will unite the community going forward. When they think about historic preservation, they say it’s easy to embrace change when they remember what can’t ever be replaced.

“Those memories, they will not go away at all, they’ll be there,” Williams said.