Urban Fold

Kansas City Puts Down Payment on Clearing Blight

Joining a host of other Midwestern cities establishing land banks to help corral, clear, and repurpose their vacant properties, Kansas City will begin transferring 3,500 vacant properties it recently acquired into a city-owned land bank.

Already responsible for more than $1.5 million in yearly upkeep costs for the properties that were formerly owned by the financially strapped Jackson County Land Trust, Kansas City began acquiring 3,500 vacant properties this month as the "latest step in a plan to restore blighted communities in the city's core," reports Sarah Fentem.

"David Park of the Kansas City Planning Department said the transfer not only provides more funds, but also offers the city 'more flexibility and authority' when dealing with the vacant properties. For example, unlike the Jackson County Land Trust, the city has the ability to give properties away or combine two smaller properties to make the land more marketable," notes Fentem.

"[Park] said he hopes such initiatives will attract younger people to Kansas City. 'The idea of moving into a neighborhood that needs revitalization-to be part of that movement- is attractive,' said Park. New residents could help reduce blight by encouraging positive redevelopment. 'I don't think we can cause it, but I think we can facilitate it.'"

Full Story: Take it to the Bank

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