KANSAS CITY, Mo. — One of the metro’s first communities has its fingers crossed for a new development plan in the corner of its neighborhood.

The open grass where Harrison Street turns into East 4th Street in Kansas City, Missouri’s Columbus Park neighborhood used to look a lot different to life-long resident Jo Marie Guastello.

“There were houses everywhere in here, apartments, and it was very lively,” said Guastello.

The hope is that it’ll be lively again soon.

The Housing Authority of Kansas City (HAKC) recently put out a Request for Proposal (RFP) trying to find a plan it likes for the six-acre area.

It was intentionally kept undeveloped when the Housing Authority demolished 454 public housing units in the 1990’s and rebuilt 219 of them in what’s called Guinotte Manor.

“We agreed we would not put any public housing on this property, but our desire would be there would be either home ownership opportunities or affordable housing opportunities on this property,” said HAKC Executive Director Edwin Lowndes.

Neighbor Shon Hall moved to Columbus Park a few years ago and says the open land attracts the possibility of crime in the otherwise safe neighborhood.

“I’ve personally run people out of here myself with headlights,” said Hall. “It’s just like, ‘Go home.’ And that’s scary.”

Development hasn’t always gone perfectly in Columbus Park.

Guastello, Hall and other neighbors say while there are developers who have done right by the community and its residents, there are others who come up short.

“[Developers] talk,” said Guastello. “They always talk about what they’re going to do and this and that and the other, but nothing happens.”

That’s why Lowndes says it was important for HAKC to have maintained possession of the six acres. At one point, he says it was going to be included with other parcels around the neighborhood for a private developer to work with. When that process took too long, HAKC still had options.

“We never came to terms with that and they were extremely slow with processing everything,” said Lowndes. “Literally 20 years of that development process and we decided we’re going to remove our parcel from that consideration and move forward with finding a new developer that can work with the entire community on this parcel.”

Lowndes says HAKC is open to all possibilities for the land as long as it does something to address affordable housing through home ownership, rental properties or a mix of the two options.

“Affordable housing is in tremendous need in Kansas City,” said Lowndes. “When we look at our list, I have over 16,000 families on our voucher waitlist.”