KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Propane tanks, tires and mattresses: That’s the view for people living near what once was a pristine wooded area in South Kansas City.
Neighbors near E. 60th Terrace and Blue Ridge Cutoff said it’s obvious that it’s another neighbor on their same street who’s responsible for the mess, but they haven’t been able to stop them.
That’s why neighbors, who asked not to be identified for fear of retribution, called FOX4 Problem Solvers.
The wooded lot where much of the trash has been illegally dumped is owned by Kevin Gilkison. Kansas City’s codes department has cited Gilkison multiple times for violations but has never heard back.
With each passing year, the pile of trash keeps expanding, and there now appears to be a homeless camp operating on the site.
Problem Solvers paid a visit to the house where neighbors said much of the trash is coming from. But a man living there, Bruce Ward, said he’s not responsible.
However, a portion of his backyard fence is missing, and many of the items spilling into the street (tires, empty cans, etc.) are similar to those items found on the wooded lot.
Ward told Problem Solvers he actually works hard to keep the wooded lot clean though. If that’s true, he’s fallen behind on the job.
Alan Ashurst, an illegal dumping investigator for Kansas City, doesn’t believe Ward.
“People lie to me for a living when it comes to illegal dumping,” Ashurst said.
As for Ward and the other people living at his home: “It’s them,” Ashurst said. “I know for a fact it’s them.”
Even before FOX4 Problem Solvers got involved, Ashurst had made cleaning up this mess a city priority.
But to solve the problem, he first had to find absentee landowner Gilkison. The address the city codes department was using for Gilkison (and where all the citations had been mailed) was no longer valid. Gilkison hadn’t lived there in years.
Ashurst found him in Lee’s Summit.
Gilkison told the city he was unaware of what was happening on his property and has promised to have it cleaned up by next week.
In fact, while Problem Solvers was visiting the area, Ward and another man were hauling trash off the wooded lot and into their back yard.