Residents Pleased With the Clean-up for All-Star Company

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- City crews and contractors have been busy in recent months, "spiffing up" the city for the MLB All-Star Game on July 10.

For those living in the neighborhoods receiving the special attention, the city's motivation - to clean the place up for its All-Star company - doesn't seem to matter, although they do say it's long overdue.

"When you've watched these eyesores for years just sit there over and over. We get an event like the All-Star game to come to Kansas City and we finally get stuff taken down," said resident Pat Clarke.

Residents in the area of 43rd and Cleveland say they've complained for more than ten years about dangerous, abandoned homes, and nothing was done. Many of the abandoned homes have attracted drug users and led to more vandalism.

Now, with 100,000 visitors expected to arrive next month, the demolition and clean-up work has begun.

Charles Johnson, a resident of the area, is proud of his neighborhood and doesn't want All-Star visitors to see it like it is now.

"I'd like them to see the beauty and the nature and that we have something to offer Kansas City's people," Johnson said.

At Cleveland Park, the ball fields look better than ever. MLB's youth softball games will be played here and many from out-of-town will travel to the urban core to watch.

It's not just the fields that are being kept cut and green. Whatever the eye can see from the park fields, is being scrutinized by the city. The area has many abandoned buildings with signs across them that say, "DO NOT ENTER." These signs will be coming down, and in some cases, the building along with it. The city is spending $188,000 to spruce it up.

"We're glad that they will be doing something," said Delores Johnson, a resident of the neighborhood. "There are several others around here they will be tearing down also. This is a busy, busy street right here at 43rd Street. That helps."

Residents just hope the upgrades won't stop when the All-Star game is over because, they say, the demolition of 30 homes is only a drop in the bucket.

There are about 800 structures on the city's Dangerous Buildings list. The city plans to tear down others that can be seen from Interstate 70 and others near Satchel Paige Stadium.

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