On Tuesday, I mentioned the home in North Hyde Park that had raw sewage seeping into the street. It's very unfortunate, but the raw sewage problem is the least of Kansas City's infastructure problems.
Kansas City's urban core is struggling. Like many cities across the US, it got abandoned and neglected in the 60s, 70s and 80s and in spite of efforts for a comeback, it has a long way to go. Many streets in the urban core are just littered with empty, abandoned and neglected homes. It's not uncommon in many parts of town to see more than half the homes on a given block to be very clearly abandoned. In fact, the two pictures on this blog posting were taken from the exact same spot -- on opposite sides of the street from each other.
The empty homes provide a lot of problems. Who wants to move into the house next door to this place? There are fewer neighbors on the street to provide popular and effective neighborhood watch programs. They also provide safe havens where people who want to engage in criminal activity can do so away from public streets and infastructure.
There aren't easy answers. And virtually every city in the country is dealing with many of the same issues. Over the next week or two I'm going to talk about the problem. I'm going to discuss some of the issues that led to this situation. And discuss some things that can be done to
improve the situation. And it's not just the job of the City Council and the mayor to fix it. Clearly they play a role, but they're not the only ones. We're all responsible. And it's on all of us to help fix it. The city's businesses, taxpayers, citizens, churches, government, the school board -- we all play a role in trying to fix these problems.
And we will all benefit if we do.
But it won't happen if we just have press conferences declaring war on weeds (clearly). It's going to take some guts. It's going to take some rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty. And it's going to take a committment from a lot of people to make it happen.
Next up: How we got in this mess.