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Central Standard

Photographer Documents Use Of Eminent Domain To Build Kansas City Police Complex

Kansas City's new east side police station and crime lab on Prospect and 27th Street is still under construction — the campus is slated to open next year. Meanwhile, the city is still facing litigation over how the four-block area was selected for the campus, and how the people who lived there were moved to make way for the new construction.

Starting in the fall of 2012, photographer MattRahnerdocumented the residents of the Wendell-Phillips neighborhood between Prospect and Brooklyn avenues and 26th and 27th streets. He wanted to capture the final months before the demolition of their homes.

His photos inspired a discussion on eminent domain — that is, the government's right to take over private property in service of a public works project. Rahner and Wendell Phillips resident Ameena Powell joined Central Standard's Gina Kaufmann to reminisce about the life of neighborhood and to revisit the evacuation process.

We also heard from Pitch reporter Steve Vockrodt, and got a municipal perspective on the sticky issues at hand from Mike Taylor of the Unified Government of Wyandotte County (city officials from Kansas City, Mo., declined our invitation to participate due to current litigation). 

Sylvia Maria Gross is storytelling editor at KCUR 89.3. Reach her on Twitter @pubradiosly.