Potential Tax to Make Kennett Eyesores Thing of Past

February 22, 2007 - Posted at 5:09 p.m. CST

KENNETT, MO -- Out with the old in with the new...That's what the city of Kennett is hoping to do if residents approve a one-eighth cent sales tax increase aimed to clean up buildings that have become eyesores.

They used to be Kennett's service station, restaurant and hotel.

"It was real nice during World War II," said Kennett resident Richard Edgington. However, since Edgington stayed there in the early 1940's the Westgate Hotel and a number other structures in town have fallen apart.

"We have a number of commercial buildings that are eyesores as I like to call them," said Kennett mayor Donald Parker.

Parker says the town has somewhere around 100 structures in disrepair, and feels they paint the town in a bad light for passerby's like Cedric Johnson.

"When I first seen them, my first thought was they need to do something for them," said Johnson.

Back in their prime, buildings located along the main highway that leads into Kennett actually brought people and money to the area not more than 50 years later they are doing their part to keep business away.

"We need anything that will promote a job when an individual comes into town the first thing he sees are these buildings in this condition and he isn't impressed," said Parker.

In addition to giving the city a bad reputation, these buildings are safety hazards that are being used in some illegal activities.

"It's a place where drug dealers gather and unfortunately we have some of those in the community," said Parker.

The problem for the city is demolition projects cost money, and without funds from a sales tax increase these buildings will continue to rot.

"The city is trying to clean them up because as you can see they are real trashy looking," said Edgington.

If passed the city will use the money to clear the old buildings in hope new business will spring up. The one-eighth of a cent sales tax increase will be voted on by residents in April.