Land bank would help deal with vacant KC houses
The Kansas City Star
Crews are quickening efforts to improve Kansas City’s appearance for next month’s Major League Baseball All-Star Game. A significant part of the work involves accelerated demolition of structures on the city’s dangerous buildings list. Vacant, nuisance properties are a chronic problem in older neighborhoods, where abandoned houses can wait for years, or even decades, for their appointment with the wrecking ball.
It’s a good thing more of them are being removed. But we should remember that this problem is a subset of an ongoing vacant-building epidemic — which means city officials must be ready to implement a new measure enacted by the legislature in its recent session. The bill would allow the city to create a land bank, a local entity that could acquire nuisance properties for sale or rehab and move them back onto the tax rolls.
Gov. Jay Nixon has not yet signed the bill but has so far expressed no objection to it. A spokesman says it is still being reviewed.
Assuming the bill becomes law, City Hall should be ready to put its provisions in effect quickly when the measure becomes effective in August. Officials should be working now to draw up an implementing ordinance for the City Council to consider.
The All-Star bump is welcome, but it will take years to make a dent in the city’s vacant-house problem — all the more reason for the city to move quickly if the land-bank bill becomes law.