Mowing lawns in Kansas City: A $1.26 million summer job

Kansas City has found the perfect summertime recipe to rack up a giant mowing bill.

Combine a heavy dose of hot, rainy weather with an economy on the fritz. Then, toss in a shuttered community development agency.

Indeed, the clear leader on the city's list of property owners who owe it money for mowing weedy lots: Community Development Corp. of Kansas City, which once spent millions of federal dollars aimed at curbing urban blight.

More than 160 properties — with mowing bills that top $42,000 — are related to CDC-KC, an analysis of city records showed.

And that was just for June.

In total, the city is owed $1.26 million for mowing more than 3,700 private properties that failed to comply with city orders to maintain them by cutting weeds and grass.

David Park, the acting director of the city's Neighborhood and Community Services Department, said he anticipated the total will grow to at least $1.5 million by summer's close.

And that's not counting the impact of that kind of blight on neighborhoods.

The economy and the foreclosure crisis have obviously expanded the city's list of overgrown lots. And the city is well aware of the community development agency's woes, Park said.

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