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Then And Now: Pictures Show Changes In KC's Blue Hills Neighborhood

Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011

It's been three years since the Google Street View camera made its way through the streets of the Blue Hills neighborhood between Prospect Avenue and Paseo Boulevard, and 47th and 63rd Streets.

In that time, as the community has tried to shake the stigma of being filled with blighted homes, the community has seen a lot of visible changes. (See how Blue Hills has been trying to change its reputation.)

One major change is the building of Blue Hills Community Services' new home — it's a modern facility built with green technology on Prospect Avenue that can be seen from 71 Highway. As a business incubator, it provides area contractors with office space and resources and serves as a community meeting space. 

Below you can see that the building replaced a building that had been sitting vacant for years:

In addition to office spaces, the new facility includes a community garden space and orchard. What used to be an overgrown lot is now a garden available for community members to rent space:

Credit Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011 / KCUR

The Blue Hills neighborhood is inching its way back to its pre-recession numbers. Of the 3600 residential properties in the neighborhood, 55 percent of the residents own their home and values are rising. The house below was rehabbed by Blue Hills Community Services and is now on the market. The organization has assisted in 225 home repairs, 15 rehabs, and have even built new homes on once vacant lots.

Credit Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011

The neighborhood is seeing a shift since the housing crisis and the high rate of foreclosures that resulted from it. What once were boarded up houses are now occupied by mostly young people who are moving in and fixing them up. 

Credit Suzanne Hogan / Google Street View 2011

This look at Kansas City's east side is part of KCUR's months-long examination of how geographic borders affect our daily lives in Kansas City. KCUR will go Beyond Our Borders  and spark a community conversation through social outreach and innovative journalism.

We will share the history of these lines, how the borders affect the current Kansas City experience and what's being done to bridge or dissolve them. Be a source for Beyond Our Borders: Share your perspective and experiences east of Troost with KCUR

Every part of the present has been shaped by actions that took place in the past, but too often that context is left out. As a podcast producer for KCUR Studios and host of the podcast A People’s History of Kansas City, I aim to provide context, clarity, empathy and deeper, nuanced perspectives on how the events and people in the past have shaped our community today. In that role, and as an occasional announcer and reporter, I want to entertain, inform, make you think, expose something new and cultivate a deeper shared human connection about how the passage of time affects us all. Reach me at hogansm@kcur.org.
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