Run down house
Patrick Tuohey

Three and a half years ago, Kansas City leaders were so embarrassed by a KCPT documentary on urban blight they committed to tearing down hundreds of dangerous buildings. Were they successful?

According to The Kansas City Star back in February 2016:

City Manager Troy Schulte recently estimated it would cost $10 million to knock down all the most dangerous houses and other buildings in the city. That backlog of 870 buildings has built up because in the past, the city has only been able to spend about $800,000 annually to demolish about 100 houses, and more properties keep getting added to the list every year.

The city sold bonds to raise the $10 million to pay for the demolition. Work started in June 2016 and it was to take two years to tear down about 800 buildings. In April 2018, Channel 41 reported that the city surpassed it goal and “taken care of” 895 buildings in two years. That is because many were sold and rehabilitated, not demolished.

According to city data, only 609 buildings actually have been torn down by the city in the three years since. While this is slower than initially planned, it represents good progress toward addressing blight.

As of October 7, 2019, there are 343 dangerous buildings remaining on the city’s list.


About the Author

Patrick Tuohey
Patrick Tuohey
Senior Fellow of Municipal Policy

Patrick Tuohey works with taxpayers, media, and policymakers to foster understanding of the conse