Northeast meeting provides updates on demo and police

By Joe Jarosz
Northeast News
March 16, 2016

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – When talking about the Northeast, residents get passionate.

And a recent meeting discussing Northeast related issues was a good demonstration of how passionate residents are about the Northeast.

Last week, roughly 50 area residents attended the meeting, held in the Kansas City Museum, to hear local officials and Kansas City Police Department officers answers questions about crime, prostitution, demolition of dangerous buildings, and codes enforcement. Before discussing area specific issues, Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner gave those in attendance a quick overview on why the one percent earning tax is crucial to Kansas City. The city levies a one percent tax on salaries, wages and commissions earned by those who work in Kansas City, Mo.

“Eliminating this puts an undue burden on the city,” Wagner said.

Demolition

The first question from the crowd concerned the city’s commitment to demolishing dangerous buildings in the Historic Northeast. In 2014, Wagner lead the charge to tear down 100 houses. For a time, demolition was put on hold while a group examined the buildings with the possibility of purchasing up to 40 of them. That group only purchased six buildings.

“That caused us a six month delay,” Wagner said.

Wagner clarified that the city specifically went after only Landbank properties, because those are under the ownership of the city. Every building that will be demolished, he added, has been given the go ahead to begin the demolition process. First, residents will see crews inspecting and cleaning for environmental issues (asbestos and lead). The remaining buildings will be torn down by the end of the 2015-16 Fiscal Year, which ends May 1, 2016.

“I too shared your frustration because I stuck my neck out and said we were going to do it,” Wagner said.

Changes to East Patrol in the Northeast

Captain Timothy Hernandez and Sgt. Joe Merino updated the crowd on ways East Patrol will soon begin to improve policing efforts in the Northeast. Hernandez confirmed East Patrol now has a codes enforcement officer who will be assigned specifically to the Northeast. Merino added two officers have been moved into the Northeast and their sole function is proactivity.

“That means they won’t answer calls for service,” Merino said, adding residents will start seeing and recognizing officers and familiar faces again. “It’s going to be a long process, but you will see a presence there [along Independence Avenue]. What we need from you guys is good intel.”

Leslie Caplan, president of the Scarritt Renaissance Neighborhood Association and moderator of the evening’s public forum, asked the officers to relay to Major Joe McHale how appreciative she and other residents are of his commitment to quality of life issues in the Northeast.

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