In the last couple of years, it's been sad to see so many holes in the once vibrant storefronts of Westport. But new landlord the Redeemer Fellowship Church has a plan to "spruce up" the neighborhood by forcing out businesses that have survived.
The church inherited its space at Westport and Baltimore two years ago, along with property being used by several small businesses. Last week, those businesses received 60-day notices that they had to vacate the premises.
Among the businesses being kicked out are Pam's Scentsational Scents and a barbershop. B-Bop Comics is also on the block, but the comic shop already announced it was closing. A funeral home in the area also shut its doors before the announcement was made.
Some business owners told reporters that the plan was to bulldoze the property to create a green space or parking lot, but church officials have released a statement denying this. On its website, the church writes in bold: "We can say that no significant parking will be added, and that parking was not a consideration in making this decision." The church also promises that a group of students from KU's Urban Planning program will research and recommend uses for the properties this spring. It seems unlikely that the buildings will remain standing, though, as the church has already said the properties were in such disrepair that renovating them would not be worth the cost. Or they'd simply rather spend the money on other things.
The church has offered affected businesses assistance in relocating.