Home ARTICLES Neighborhood

Activity Spurs Hope In Hyde Park, By Jody Ladd Craig, 1979 PDF  | Print |

Gazette, Historic Kansas City Foundation, April/-May 1979

A number of things are taking place throughout Hyde Park which inspire hope for a continuing resurgence of that venerable old neighborhood. In November, Homes Savings Association and the Hyde Park Neighborhood Association jointly announced a lending program in Hyde Park (the area between 31st and 46th, Gillham to Troost) which is the first of its kind in the city.

Home Savings Association committed a fund of a minimum $1 million for combined purchase/rehabilitation mortgages and an additional $250,000.00 for home improvement loans to persons already owning and living in homes in the area. Home Savings will continue to make conventional mortgage loans I the area without rehabilitation financing, which will not be considered a part of the $1 million program. Loans of up to 95% of the total purchase/rehabilitation amount will be considered by the savings association, making Hyde Park the only area in the city where such financing is available. Details of the loan program can be obtained form Bob Lehmann at the home office, 1006 Grand Avenue.

Considerable interest in the purchase/rehab loans has been shown and all of that money has already been committed. Since work specified in the loan agreement must be completed within six months, visible results ought to be apparent from this program in the near future.

Charles E. Curry, Chairman of the Board of Home Savings Association, was the recipient of last year’s Possum Trot Award for Excellence, given annually in recognition of outstanding service to historic preservation in Kansas City. He has proven once again that the award was well deserved by his leadership in this program to encourage neighborhood conservation.

In a recent conversation, Mr. Curry spoke about the loan program in Hyde Park with enthusiasm. He explained that all lenders were being encouraged by the federal government to make loans in inner city neighborhoods and that that had been the impetus for the program. He cited the large amount of rehabilitation already going on in the area as one of the positive factors that influenced the decision to select Hyde Park. Despite the already appreciated market values in the central part of Hyde Park (25th-39th Streets, Gillham-Troost), Mr. Curry felt there were still good housing buys in North and South Hyde Park where many solid and comfortable homes still await restoration.

The Hyde Park Neighborhood Association, as a partner in the venture, made several commitments. These include encouraging residents to deposit savings wit HAS, and continuing sponsorship of the annual Hyde Park Homes Tour and Festival. Planning is already underway for that event scheduled this year for the weekend of May 19 and 20.

North Hyde Park is the scene of some truly amazing revival stories. The 3300 block of Harrison has experienced the unflagging energy of Lisa and Jim Merrill who held an open house in January to celebrate the rebirth of their elegant Victorian mansion at 3328. Their neighbors one door south, Chris and Tom Brennan, undertook a bigger task in restoring their lovely Victorian, but they are making admirable progress. In recent years, Tam Denham acquired several of the houses on the block with high hopes of seeing them restored. With little money to undertake the restorations herself, she was able to make interim repairs that kept some of the structures from falling in and to hold them until others came along who shared her vision. Sure signs of hope for an area many though permanently lost.

Neighborhood meetings are the order of the day in south Hyde Park where residents are busily planning in anticipation of their status as a Neighborhood Strategy Area (NSA) where approximately $55 million in federal funds is targeted to be spent for years to come. An NSA is an area where a comprehensive approach to urban problems is applied in order to stabilize and rejuvenate it. A successful program here could mean a dramatic turn-around for this substantial neighborhood.