Church closings & delays

Former Hospital to be Transformed Into Senior Housing

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KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A former hospital building is dealing with problems like drugs, vandalism and prostitution. The building which is located near Vermont & S.Coy, has been vacant for at least 10 years.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County is partnering with a developer who has a track record of rehabbing historic buildings to turn the old St. Margaret’s into a showpiece of senior housing.

Neighbors say they’ve been waiting for something like this. The hospital was once the cornerstone of the St. Joseph neighborhood in KCK. St. Margaret’s Hospital employed people from the area as well as cared for their health needs.

The hospital hasn’t operated in more than 30 years. After serving as a nursing home and residential treatment center, neighbors like Ann Dercher say the empty building a source is of problems and attracts troublemakers.

“It’s scary because on many occasions we have seen kids climb the fire escape up there,” said Ann Dercher. “Get up to the top floor, throw rocks. You know,  you don’t know what’s going to happen to your cars or anything like that.”

A developer tells neighbors that things will start to change in June or July as rehab gets underway to transform the old hospital into a state-of-the-art senior housing complex. The Unified Government is helping provide tax credits to make the project happen. Neighbors like State and Toni Babiuch say they’re happy to finally see redevelopment happening in one of KCK’s older neighborhoods.

“I’m sure the building itself will be looking better on the exterior hopefully landscaping around the building,” said neighbor Steve Babiuch. “I’m looking forward to that.”

Neighbors are also looking forward to regaining a solid foundation for the area. One that will encourage others to care for and maintain their property as a way to deter crime.

Nearby, All Saints Church also serves as an anchor for the neighborhood to help the Spanish-speaking immigrants make the transition to becoming part of the community.

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