Eight years and $10,500 later, the Merriam City Council is moving forward with its plan to raze the remaining half of the Dutch Maid Motel property at 5024 Merriam Drive.
Mayor Ken Sissom has taken a particular interest in seeing this project through. Sissom is a former Merriam police officer and police chief. During his time on the force the police answered calls there for rape, prostitution, drugs, shootings, stabbings and much more, he said.
“It was horrible,” Sissom said. “It had a reputation for crime and people hiding from the law.”
According to Johnson County records, the motel originally opened in 1939 and was known as Young’s Motel. It seemed like just another stop along the road to Lawrence.
“People would stop in for the night and not pay a whole lot,” Sissom said.
But it became a hotbed for criminal activity, he said. Police became all too familiar with the property and its patrons.
As the years wore on, the property was sold and in 1995 renamed the Dutch Maid Motel. Sissom said the new owner cleaned the place up some, but a couple years later the patrons and their illegal habits were back.
The owner also bought the property across the street and built the Dutch Maid Annex, an apartment-style location. The annex backed up to the playground of South Park Elementary.
In 2003, parents from the elementary school told the city that the illegal activities going on at the annex were putting their children at risk. They asked the city to buy the property and raze the building. The city began considering how to do so.
In 2006, the city bought the annex building for $300,000 and tore down the building. The city filled the space with landscaped grass.
A year later, South Park Elementary closed its doors. The building is now Crest Bible Church.
The main building of the Dutch Maid remained standing.
Sissom pushed the City Ccouncil to buy the Dutch Maid. The building’s owner owed five years of delinquent taxes and so the building was going up for sale.
After approval from the city council, the city bought Dutch Maid for $10,500. Sissom said the city would not have control of the property until mid-October but city officials intend to tear down the building soon after that.
“We will level that place and will wipe it off the face of the earth,” Sissom said. “We are happy to make that section of our city look a little bit prettier.”
To reach Hannah Wise, call 816-234-4142 or send email to email@example.com.