Kansas City Lykins Neighborhood Association Logo

A Pragmatic, Collaborative Urban Development, Powered by the Neighborhood

Photo Credit: Lykins Neighborhood Association Facebook Page

The Lykins Community Development Project focuses community development resources in a promising urban core neighborhood to greatly increase the positive impact of development. The Lykins Neighborhood is located 2.5 miles east of downtown Kansas City.

To date, there are more than 40 project partners, including 20 rehabbers and builders that the Neighborhood has approved to rehab or build on 45 properties, most of which are in the project’s original nine-block project focus area. This is a level of development that is unprecedented in the neighborhood in the last 20 years.

One of the most important aspects of this project is that all decisions are driven by neighborhood residents. Neighborhood Legal Support, its staff and its partners provide the energy, experience and resources to implement the neighborhood’s decisions, but the neighborhood is in full control.

In January of 2018, the Lykins Neighborhood Association obtained funding from LISC to conduct a property-by-property analysis of each of the roughly 2,000 properties in the neighborhood. The neighborhood retained an urban planner who prepared the Lykins Preliminary Community Development Plan.

Using the plan and input from 17 rehabbers and builders, the Neighborhood Association selected a 9 block focus area for the project’s work.

By having the Lykins Neighborhood Association act as Master Developer, they were able to research and pursue incentives and other resources for the project that most developers are untrained or otherwise unable to pursue. These include:

  • Pursuing and obtaining $450,000 in PIAC funding for improvements in Lykins Square Park and retaining an architect to oversee the work
  • Securing $135,000 in direct City funding for the Project, including subsidies for rehabbers and builders working in the project Focus Area
  • Development of Building Standards for the Project that require rehabs and new construction work to result in properties that have low maintenance and low utility costs. All participating rehabbers and builders have agreed to comply with these standards. The standards can be used in other neighborhoods as well.
4401 E. 9th Street KCMO
Before and after pictures of 4401 E. 9th Street. This is one of the properties that our project partners are rehabbing in the project. The City was moving forward with plans to demolish this house. We convinced the City to allow us to rehab it instead. We brought litigation against the California doctor who owned the property and acquired it from her. This will soon be a high quality home for a neighborhood family, rather than the vacant lot it would have been if it had been demolished.

Some of the primary innovative aspects of the Lykins Community Development Project include:

  • Focused community development based on a reasoned analysis of neighborhood assets and challenges
  • The neighborhood association acting as Master Developer in order to advocate for and attract incentives to the Project and make those incentives available to all participating developers
  • Hiring of Neighborhood Liaisons, who are ethnically diverse, neighborhood residents, and well-connected to residents in the neighborhood. The liaisons have greatly increased diverse neighborhood participation in the planning process
  • Developing reasonable building standards for the Project
  • Pursuing advocacy that will expedite and enhance community development efforts throughout Kansas City

For more information, please contact:

Gregg Lombardi, Executive Director at gregg@nls4kc.org.