Homes for disabled veterans rise from rubble

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WDAF-TV

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KANSAS CITY Mo. -- Homeowners in one East Side Kansas City neighborhood are seeing the right kind of changes. Three years after an abandoned apartment complex was torn down, a brand new building sits off Brighton Avenue near 32nd Street and Linwood Boulevard. The building will serve as housing for disabled veterans.

Across the street from the Cameron Place Apartments is the home of Helen Brewer, she's lived there for more 20 years. Brewer said the neighborhood needed this, it was starting to look really bad.

"I wish the whole neighborhood would look like that," said Brewer. "You see that over there? All the weeds and people dumping tires."

Many of the homes surround the new building and VA Hospital around the corner are trashed. There are bags of garbage in lawns, broken glass and dozens of tires.

In 2010, the  Polsinelli Law Firm and Legal Aid of Western Missouri stepped in to make a difference. The five building complex was owned by an out of state operator.

The ownership group was nowhere to be found and didn't return calls and letters about the then blighted property. So, Polsinelli and Legal Aid of Western Missouri sued the owner and eventually secured the sale to Kansas City based Swope Community Builders. Fast forward three years, the building is no longer an eye sore but a future home for disabled veterans.

"I walked over here and it looked like somebody threw a bomb in the project," said Dennis Palmer, a lawyer with Polsinelli. "There was debris, tires, it was rat infested, and insect infested, walls falling down, it was a complete disaster. "

Now, the property has been overhauled, inside the new walls, 49 apartments. There is still landscaping work to be done and it's expected to be move in ready soon.

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