Talks underway on Armour Blvd social blight

bainbridgeBy Joe Lambe

A unprecedented social blight study and designation for the Bainbridge apartments on Armour Boulevard is expected to be dropped tomorrow as negotiations continue, apartment managers said.

The board of the Planned Industrial Expansion Authority is to consider the matter. The PIEA commissioned the blight study on behalf of the city and submitted it to the City Plan Commission.

It found that the Bainbridge and two other properties redeveloped as low income housing increased crime so badly that the Armour corridor is socially blighted.

City officials said they wanted to force negotiations for better management by Eagle Point Cos. LLC., of Maine, which redeveloped and manages the properties.

They said the high concentration of Section 8 housing in the Bainbridge, 900 E. Armour, the Georgian Court, 400 E. Armour and the Linda Vista, 1301 E. Armour, was contributing to crime that was hampering market rate redevelopment.

Councilman Jim Glover, who lives in Hyde Park, has said it also was causing crime problems that hurt residents in the buildings as much as anyone else.

“It’s not a way to treat people,” he said.

Eagle Point last month put out a press release in which the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development backed Eagle Point for a national record of “strong, effective and proactive management” of low income properties.

Eagle Point CEO Laura Burns said, “We would genuinely like to see this baseless and poorly informed “study” rejected – and not become the basis of a long, protracted drain on city time and resources.”

“We agree with HUD’s suggestion that we all work together – our company, the city, KCPD, community leaders and our residents – for positive improvements in the community…,” she said last month.

She said today that a recent first round of talks with city officials was helpful and they will continue.

PIEA officials could not be reached for comment today.

The “social liability” report notes that such social blight is not defined by state law or case law except a 2007 Missouri Supreme Court opinion.

The high court held that areas can be blighted when they constitute “menace injurious to the public health, safety, morals and welfare” of residents.

City and neighborhood officials say they used the approach because of continual crime problems at and around the properties.

The study, which is on hold in the Plan Commission, could be way for the city to end Eagle Point’s management of the buildings. Company supporters say that could force the relocation of many poor people.

Leave a Comment