Residents in south KC neighborhood rejoice as city begins tearing down abandoned homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Homeowners in the Blue Hills neighborhood are celebrating the demolition of a dangerous building that they say has been a source of problems for years.

Many are happy the city's ambitious tear down program is reaching into more neighborhoods.

The police chief has long preached about how abandoned houses attract drug dealing and breed other crime.

People near 56th Street and Woodland Avenue say they've experienced that first hand.

"People throw trash over there because the house is empty," homeowner Joan King said. "And it looks so bad. I try my best to keep my property up. And it really doesn’t look good if my property is up and this is all torn up behind me."

The city has been working north to south in prioritizing 815 dangerous buildings that it seeks to tear down in a two-year period. And people in Blue Hills say they've waited a long time for the program move into their neighborhood.

A recent fire at a vacant house a block away scared some neighbors who fear they could lose their homes if action isn't taken to eliminate blight.

"We have tried and tried to keep everything up," said John King, another nearby homeowner. "I work quite a bit out there trying to keep my little place up. It’s hard to get anybody else to kinda cooperate. It seems like when you get out there you are all by yourself and nobody else is doing anything. I’m glad to see it get this far."

The city is spending $10-million on the tear down program, but some neighbors would like to see even more money earmarked for the effort. There are several other abandoned or vacant homes within a block's radius that may soon become the next trouble spot.

Kansas City's Land Bank owns many of the vacant houses and is hopeful to get some of them rehabbed and occupied through a new campaign to sell the properties for less than $1,000 each.