There is money for massive demolition, but not love

vacant propertyThe new city budget allows for $10 million to demolish about 800 dangerous buildings in two years, but city council members want to talk about that.

They want plans to provide for more rehabilitation, less demolition and more use of deconstruction, a far more expensive option in which building materials are salvaged for reuse.

More input, planning and discussion is needed, the joint city council committee of neighborhoods and housing agreed today.

It held a resolution to establish a housing triage process.

The resolution would direct the city manager to start a triage process but has no specifics.

Councilwoman Katheryn Shields said they want to reset options away from “a cookie cutter” demolition approach.

“There is an overall desire to see a lot of different strategies come forward,” she said.

Councilwoman Alissia Canady said so many demolitions could decimate some small neighborhoods on the east side.

“Removing blight is not just removing houses,” she said. “It’s not just a parcel, it’s a community.”

Councilman Scott Wagner cautioned that people now expect 800 blighted houses to be removed.

Shields said if even 700 are demolished and others are renovated or deconstructed, “I think that is a good outcome.”

Canady said the city needs to form a plan for urban core housing, for “how do we leverage (the $10 million demolition fund) to create revitalization.”

Councilman Quinton Lucas said they had not been involved in the $10 million for demolition plan.

“I think this is just us trying to say let’s be a part of the policy discussion,” he said.

Lucas said he would propose a substitute resolution that would also say that demolition would be allowed when renovation and deconstruction were not economically feasible.

He also supports a change in it that would direct city officials to report to the joint committee in 60 days on the likely outcome of each house, he said.

Shields said, “I think all the houses need to be relooked at” by outside experts like an architect and others.

But a city lawyer noted that 75 percent of the houses are privately owned and the city cannot allow outside experts in them.

About a third of the houses are so damaged by fire that demolition is the only option, officials said.

Chuck Cacioppo of Industrial Wrecking Co. in Kansas City suggested the city might want to consider another option.

Houses could be demolished in a way that leaves the foundation and first floor, saving money and allowing new construction on site.

“A lot of these old houses have great rock foundations,” he said.

Canady instructed city officials to give her an update on the 75 percent of the homes that are privately owned and what would be needed to get control of them and renovate them.

She also asked for a report on what neighborhood associations the houses are in.

On another front, a city effort that allowed people to apply to buy for $1 many of the city owned dangerous houses ends Friday.

So far, there have been 40 completed applications officials said.


  1. I was involved in the renovation/rehab of homes in the Broadway-Gillham Neighborhood in the 1980’s.Home Owners were educated in how to rehab – on Saturday morning we did a class featuring reps from paint companies, etc. to explain and educate and on Saturday afternoon we did hands on demonstrations.

    We also had an architect who looked at the individual homes to assess what needed to be done.

    I understand this is different. Perhaps the homes owned by out of towners need to be condemned in order to sell to individuals or remodelers who rehab them.

    The question is – is there a market? Would individuals move into those neighborhoods when the houses were done?

    By the way, I own a remodeling company – so I know of what I speak.

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