Residents fear development plan near 18th and Vine will force them from their homes

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Some people living near 18th and Vine fear a new development plans could mean they would lose their homes. A plan for a $76 million redevelopment plan for the Parade Park Homes could force neighbors living there to move.

“I just don't see a developer having it, and having my best interest: safe, affordable. I don't understand tearing down affordable housing,” said Michael Henderson, who has lived there for about 15 years.

“They're moving out the inner city,” Darcus Marzett-Hellaby, another long-time resident, said.

Some people who live in Parade Park Homes, a 510-unit affordable housing cooperative, are concerned they'll have to move if the the plans for redevelopment go through.

“If rent goes from $630 that I pay now, to $1300, which is the estimate, that's a $200,000 mortgage. I couldn't qualify for a loan for $200,000 for this place,” Henderson added.

“And it's a shame that this is the oldest black co-op in the nation. Pride was here, and they're just taking it all away for money and greed, and do not care about us whatsoever,” Marzett-Hellaby said.

Others said the place is old and falling apart, and changes are necessary.

“This structure down here is over 50-something years old, and in dire need of updating,” said Dianne Reese, who has lived here for 28 years. “The plumbing is bad; the electrical work is bad; the roofs are in dire need of repair.”

Reese said many people who live here are senior citizens, and need to live on a one floor unit. Currently most of the homes are two stories, so they'll have to leave if the development doesn't go through.

“If they don't make changes with the new development, I'm going to have to move because of the stairs,” Reese said.

Herb Hardwick, the attorney for Parade Park Homes and Jim Nichols, the owner of Dalmark, which manages the property, said there  are resources available to help Parade Park homes residents remain, and their goal is to keep it affordable.

“We're going to have our carrying charge increase one way or the other, and I'd rather if we're going to pay that money that we pay for accessibility for all members of Parade Park, and new structures, rather than coming in and trying to patch up this place, which needs major surgery,” Reese said.

“I think a lot of people see stainless appliances, granite tops, but they're not understanding there is a cost involved, and that cost is going to be passed on to us,” Henderson said.

Some residents are so worried that they have filed a lawsuit to try and stop the development plans. A hearing is scheduled to begin June 15 in Jackson County Circuit Court.