CastleWatch: Raytown Resistance


There are many stories of people out there who happened upon the Castle Coalition website and used the resources there to fight their local eminent domain battles. Pat Casady, the owner of a small business in a small town in Missouri, did just that.

Raytown, Mo., is a small suburb of Kansas City that has been trying to revitalize its downtown for years. Raytown is just one of a number of small cities trying to draw people back by kicking out the residents they already have. Although the city owns property it can develop to begin revitalization, overly ambitious city officials, despite the withdrawal of two developers, insist on creating a massive redevelopment while the property they already own becomes blighted.

In 2001, the city bought the First Baptist Church and surrounding property after the congregation moved to another location. Residents thought that the town would use the purchase to spur development. The church property remains vacant as city officials, even after the withdrawal of two developers, keep trying to create a massive redevelopment project while letting the church property they already own become blighted.

Pat Casady, owner of C & C Industrial Armature, received a letter from city officials in 2004 that indicated that his 30-year-old business property would be appraised for condemnation—even though officials explicitly assured him that eminent domain would not be considered. The city planned to take every property on the block, including the 60-year-old Fox Drugstore. Since then, Casady, with a handful of other business owners located in downtown Raytown, have been fighting to keep their businesses.