State Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Independence, has pushed through the Missouri General Assembly a bill to address blight in Kansas City.

State Rep. Noel Torpey, R-Independence, has pushed through the Missouri General Assembly a bill to address blight in Kansas City.


“There are so many blighted properties, and so many drug homes. ... It’s just not safe for kids,” Torpey said Wednesday.


The problem is that the city has thousands of abandoned properties. Even when they are tax-forfeited and go up for auction on the county courthouse steps, often there are no bidders. It costs the city $1 million a year just to mow them.


The land bank – a five-person board with city and county representatives – can bid on those properties (as can anyone else).


Once in the land bank’s hands, dilapidated homes can be renovated or, if need be, bulldozed to create a ready-to-go lot or even a pocket park. Or maybe two small parcels can be combined into something more attactive to a buyer. He said other cities around the country have had success with this approach.


“The goal is to put it back into private hands and put it back on the tax rolls,” he said, adding that such improvements will help neighborhoods and raise property values.


Torpey thanked state Sen. Victor Callahan, D-Independence, for getting the bill through in the Senate. Gov. Jay Nixon is considered likely to sign it.