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Owner of Club Mardi Gras says city is trying to take over historic jazz spot

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A woman in the 18th and Vine District claims the city is trying to take her property. Her supporters say the city should be more concerned about taking care of its own properties.

The Club Mardi Gras has been in Walker's family for more than 30 years. It's considered historic by many in Kansas City. This is where Charlie Parker performed, as well as Duke Ellington and Miles Davis.

A few months ago, part of an exterior wall of the club collapsed into the street.

Walker-Yeager said, before she could make repairs, the city declared it a dangerous building and is trying to take ownership of the property.

This despite the fact that Walker-Yeager has installed a new roof, totally rebuilt two of the exterior walls and put in a new steel beam to support the club's floor.

"Who is holding them accountable for their structures?" Walker-Yeager said. "That’s really dangerous. These kids go right here and they catch the school bus. Their properties are more dangerous than anybody’s properties out here."

Across the street from Club Mardi Gras are some of the 25 city-owned buildings in the entertainment district. One of these buildings has a big hole in the roof, and bricks that are falling onto the sidewalk. Walker-Yeager said there's no urgency on the city's part to make repairs on issues like these.

A spokesman for the Neighborhoods and Housing Services division tells FO 4 the city is not interested in acquiring another property in the Jazz District.

Some of the buildings would have been torn down if they were elsewhere, but to preserve the historic designation of 18th and Vine, the city claims it is doing the best it can to restore them.
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