“It’s a great day on 27th & Prospect,” said Gwen Grant, President & CEO of Urban League. “This is a catalyst for change. This is a catalyst for progress.”
On Wednesday, August 1 KCATA hosted a ceremonial demolition of the building on southeast the corner of 27th & Prospect. At the podium, Robbie Makinen, KCATA President & CEO, was joined by U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, KCMO Mayor Sly James, 3rd District Councilman Jermaine Reed, Gwen Grant, Pastor John Modest Miles, and Don Maxwell. The ceremony was attended by more than 100 community members who are excited to see the change on Prospect.
More than 20 years ago HBO created a documentary that focused on substance abuse and gun violence in the area. Since that time, the now vacant building remains a thorn in the community’s side due to the crime it has attracted.
Tearing the building down is another way KCATA is driving economic and community development in the region.
“This will be our model that Congressman Cleaver can take to D.C. and say look what happens when agencies work together. Look at the difference we can make when we all work together,” said Makinen.
KCATA has contracted with MBE-DBE Excavating & Grading to demolish the building, fill the basement area and top it with topsoil and grass seed. The demolition of the building will not only improve safety in the area, but it will also enhance the appearance of the intersection and the surrounding neighborhood. The demolition is expected to be completed by the end of August.
After thanking members of the community, Pastor John Modest Miles of Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church thanked Congressman Cleaver, Mayor James and Councilman Reed for their help in the development on Prospect. “It is because of them that you see the new police station and crime lab, the Morning Star youth center and the brand new senior center that is about to open,” Miles said.
Following Pastor Miles’ comments, the Youth Choir from Morning Star Missionary Baptist Church performed two upbeat hymns to the crowd. The hymns served as a closing of the ceremony and a promise of a brighter future on 27th & Prospect.
To stay up to date on the demolition progress, you can watch the livestream of the demolition here.