Neighbors Care for Vacant Lots in Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Neighbors are giving the city rave reviews for the way they are handling the weeds at some vacant properties in Kansas City’s urban core. Instead of hiring landscape contractors from out-of-town, the city now awards contracts to people in the neighborhoods that complain about tall weeds and brush.

Corrine Patterson says she noticed the difference right away. She’s lived in her home in Fox Towne East neighborhood since 1968. Even though she’s 86-years-old, she still manages to keep her yard looking nice. The same couldn’t be said for abandoned and vacant homes around her until she noticed a familiar face cutting the grass on lots owned by the Jackson County Land Trust.

“He keeps them cut at their designated times and they look a lot, lot better,” Patterson said.

The crew cutting the grass at the lot near 59th & Spruce lives nearby. They take time to remove paper and trash from the lots before they cut the weeds because this is their community. Generally, neighbors say they do a better job making the properties look neat and clean. The city awarded Blue Hills neighborhood leader Mark Porter a contract to cut grass instead of giving the work to a landscape contractor.

“What it does is it allows them to be responsible for the places that they live in. and we need to do more of that so we are more aware of what’s going on, and just the beauty of property itself helps people feel more safe and secure in their own communities,” said Mark Porter.

Porter says the city used to pay outside contractors $10 per square foot. He does it for half that which saves taxpayers money and keeps tax money in the city neighborhoods where it can do more good to bring them up. Patterson claims everyone is a winner.

“They need to carry it further,” Porter said. “The city not only needs to take care of land trust they need to find a solution for all vacant properties.”

Not all vacant lots are Land Trust Properties. Porter says he’s working with the city to get the neighborhood weed wacking program expanded to dangerous building and other abandoned sites.



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