Swope Health

One-on-one with Swope Health: Marlon Hammons & Robin Humphrey

Swope Health announces a new edition of its podcast, One on One with Swope Health, featuring Marlon Hammons, president of the Washington Wheatley Neighborhood Improvement Association, and Robin Humphrey, resident volunteer with Washington Wheatley.

Eric Wesson, founder and publisher of The Next Page KC, a newspaper focused on the Black community, hosts the show’s conversations with Kansas Citians about issues of importance to the community’s health and wellbeing.

The Washington Wheatley neighborhood is bounded by 18th Street on the north and 27th Street on the south, spanning from Prospect Avenue on the west to Monroe Street on the east. The neighborhood, just three miles east of downtown Kansas City, contains historic, physical, and social assets.

It also currently has about 95 acres of vacant lots, which are the current focus of the city’s new Housing Accelerator Project, noted Hammons. According to the city, the program aims to eliminate blight, reduce crime and unwanted activity, and offer new affordable housing options.

Housing is paramount to the neighborhood, Hammons said. The neighborhood presents a lot of opportunity also with the availability of many starter homes, plus options to rehab and sell homes.  He noted the vacant lots are the result of older homes that didn’t go to the younger generation as kids grew up and moved away. The Housing Accelerator Program is an opportunity to help rebuild the neighborhood.

Marlon Hammons and Robin Humphrey of Washington Wheatley Neighborhood Association

“It’s like a smile with missing teeth,” Hammons said of the vacant lots, adding that the infill housing will make the smile look better.

Under the program, developers can purchase lots through the city’s Land Bank for $1 plus fees. The program removes some restrictions and reduces barriers to permitting and approvals within City Hall, with a goal of reducing the cost and time to construct single-family homes. The program also provides resources in collaboration with city departments and related partners such as utility companies. The program builds comparable homes to those existing in the neighborhood.

The active neighborhood association is a positive, Humphrey adds, describing a camaraderie between neighbors.  There’s also a focus on building services in the neighborhood, including adding fresh fruit and vegetables with Kanbe’s Markets, and developing retail and community amenities like the planned Community Action Network Center.

Hammons summarizes a seven-point plan the neighborhood association has adopted to address additional factors like safety, environment, and economic development.

Listen to the podcast to hear more of the challenges and opportunities facing the historic Washington Wheatley Neighborhood, and the steps the neighborhood association are taking. Humphrey spoke of the motto she uses – Be the change you want to see – to drive positive culture among the people who live in Washington Wheatley.





Fill your email below to subscribe to our newsletter

Scroll to Top