City leaders tour fifth district in hopes of bringing change to area

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Homes abandoned for decades, mattresses lying in front yards and sidewalks that can’t be used. That’s how people living in the city’s fifth district describe the area. Now, a group of neighbors are pushing for change.

People living in the fifth district invited council members and candidates on a bus tour to see firsthand some of the issues neighborhoods there are seeing.

“There’s a lot of talk about abandoned houses, burned out houses, when you take a tour like this you get a chance to actually see directly where they are,” said Lee Barnes, fifth district candidate at large. “It becomes interesting to see that the number of them is more than you envisioned.”

During the two hour bus tour the group stopped at several abandoned houses and other areas they say need immediate attention.

Fifth district candidate at large Lee Barnes and in district candidate Ken Bacchus went along for the ride. The bus stopped at one abandoned house near 61st and Terrace that was falling apart and had a yard covered with trash and broken glass.

“We are wondering what our tax money is being used for, what are they doing with it,” said neighbor Calvin Brown. “I have no idea.”

Brown said one home on his street has been abandoned for 35 years.

“There could be a dead body in there now; we would have no idea because no one can see it.” He said. “People would come up in there and steal stuff out of it, do drugs in it and I don’t know what else has been going on up in there.”

Neighbors on the bus said they invited all council members and candidates in the fifth district for the tour, but only two came out for it.