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Condemnations Pend For Police Campus Propertry Holdouts

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A Kansas City city council committee is talking tougher on property at the site of the new East Patrol police campus between Brooklyn and Prospect off of 27th Street.

The Transportation and Infrastructure Committee has  endorsed a proposal to allow 13 property owners who haven't come to an agreement on a buy-out to receive notices the property is condemned.

The city manager's office emphasized the generosity of the offers made.  Assistant city manager Pat Klein explained that negotiations with the property owners had all begun at the highest of three independent appraisals plus other allowances.  For example, homeowners living in those homes the offer was upped 25 percent.  For those who had had the property in the family for 59 years, the bonus was 59 percent. 

Other issues arose during public testimony. 

Former councilman Terry Riley spoke of benefits to a blighted neighborhood where there had not been "any significant development in that area for decades, not years, but decades."  His remarks resonated with current council member Melba Curls who said she has found overwhelming support for thenew police campusin the surrounding neighborhood.

UMKC urban studies professor Jacob Wagner didn't disagree, but told the committee they had picked "the wrong four blocks."  Wagner and a colleague cited the high level of home owners in the property chosed, and particularly older home owners who do not want to leave their long-time homes.

The committee voted unanimously to give the city manager's office the authority to declare the properties condemned. The full council will vote on the proposal next Thursday.

City officials say negotiations with the 13 property owners will continue if and after any notices have been served until the court hearings on the condemnations.

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