A crooked chain-link fence surrounds six tiny wooden houses, built at the turn of the last century and long vacant. Boards cover windows of a 1920s hotel across the street.
The seven run-down buildings, just down the street from the 18th and Vine museums and attractions, seem more blight than history.
But saving them could be crucial to the health and future of Kansas City's Historic 18th and Vine Jazz District, preservationists and district officials say.
It won’t be cheap.
Restoring the buildings and turning them into affordable senior housing will cost an estimated $4.4 million — far more than they are worth from a strictly financial perspective.
Preservationists say, though, that it’s a small sum to preserve a priceless piece of Kansas City’s black history, harkening back to a time when the area was bustling with residents and businesses, not just jazz.
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