KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Property owners near a gas station that has been leaking a strong odor of gasoline have reached a settlement in a dispute that’s been going on for over a year.
Today, plans were announced to redevelop that neighborhood. FOX 4’s John Pepitone was at Inner City Oil Station at 31st and Cleveland where some were questioning the project.
Zill, LLC, the station owner, has agreed to pay $300,000 to a group of six property owners and fourteen others in the South Roundtop neighborhood.
“This is an opportunity to bring some investment back into the urban core into a community that desperately needs it and move us in a positive direction,” said state Rep. Randy Dunn, who represents the area.
Shiloh Missionary Baptist Church helped form Urban Success Development Incorporated. Pastor Kevin Smith said the group will use money contributed by Zill to turn contaminated Brownfields into Ressurection Village, a new housing community.
The project is getting support from the Environmental Protection Agency and the Kansas State University College of Engineering.
“To us that sounds as if this situation has been resolved,” said Kevin Cheadle, one of the affected property owners. “They are moving forward and we are still in the dark.”
Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II spoke at the meeting to discuss the development plans.
“It is, I think, important — critically important — maybe not for every neighborhood, but for this neighborhood, for people to know that they have not been forgotten, that people are waking up in the morning trying to figure out ways to get things done,” Cleaver said.
Four other landowners and more than a dozen others continue to have lawsuits pending against the station owner, and Zill continues to battle a suit by Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster to clean up the area.
Some are questioning how plans can move forward to redevelop land that remains polluted by gasoline.
“My concern is simply is this situation resolved?” Cheadle asked. “We still own property on this block. We’re still in litigation with what’s going on. Our concern is simply, does our family have a home?”
Proponents of the redevelopment effort call it just a first step, and say there’s a big difference between a court settlement and resolving the contamination that continues to threaten the health of neighbors living here.