KANSAS CITY, Mo. — He was the crown jewel of the old Negro Baseball League.
Leroy “Satchel” Paige’s east Kansas City home is considered a landmark by many, even after falling into disrepair. Now, money from a six-figure grant will help preserve Paige’s pad.
Paige, who died in 1982, spent the bulk of his playing career as a member of the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1940’s. Paige was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1971.
On Friday, the National Trust for Historical Preservation announced a grant of $150,000 is coming to city leaders, meant to restabilize and restore his old home in the Santa Fe Neighborhood. The old home sits on E. 28th Street near Prospect Avenue.
“To us, it’s something that’s well overdue,” said Marquita Taylor, Santa Fe Area Council president. “We’re working closely with the neighborhood to ensure that whatever decision is made, it will be something our neighbors will want.”
Taylor said the neighborhood is ecstatic over this news. She and other city leaders have worked for years to make this happen.
Their work predates the 2018 fire that gutted the house. Many of the house’s windows are shattered. The yard is high and weeds are tall. Spray paint markings show where vandals have made their marks, despite the chain link fence that surrounds the home.
“It needs a lot of work. There were times this winter that we thought, maybe, We didn’t know what to do when the snow fell, but we remained positive,” Taylor said. “This could well be something extremely major for Kansas City.”
Taylor’s enthusiasm spreads the City Hall, where Jeffrey Williams, Kansas City’s director of planning and development said he’s heard from thousands of people in the metro who want to see Paige’s legacy protected and preserved.
Williams said the first task at hand is making sure the house is strong and safe.
“It really is exciting. Satchel Paige means so much to this community,” Williams told FOX4. “It’s just the beginning. The focus of the grant was really to look at further stabilization of the property and to get it into a place such that there will be time for us to put together requests for proposals or solicitations for us to receive further funding.”
Williams said the house’s future might include designation on the forthcoming African-American Heritage Trail. He said the city has already identified 175 potential sites, and this could be added to the list.