Community members in the Santa Fe neighborhood have long waited to see the home of legendary Leroy Satchel Paige restored.
The Santa Fe Area Council president Marquita Taylor said nearly every week at the Santa Fe Area Council meetings, concerned community members ask her what is being done to bring life back to the five-bedroom home of the legendary negro league baseball player’s home back to life.
Finally, a renovation plan for the house located at 2626 E. 28th St. has been announced that city leaders say will make the home a community asset for years to come.
The Paige Home, which Paige purchased in 1950, is where he lived during his final years with the Kansas City Monarchs. In the home, he hosted a number of celebrities like Count Basie, the Harlem Globetrotters, Duke Ellington and Louis Armstrong.
When Paige died in 1982, the home remained in the family for a few years, but then was sold and the house slowly fell into disrepair.
The house sat vacant for more than 20 years and suffered fire damage in 2018. Then in 2019, the Kansas City Homesteading Authority (KCMHA) purchased the home to protect and preserve it and secured a $150,000 grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to fund some of the major structural repairs needed on the house.
This May, the city put out a request for proposal seeking ideas on how the house might be used for the community benefit, while honoring Paige’s legacy.
On Aug. 9, KCMHA announced the winning proposal from Pitch Perfect KC in partnership with the Kansas City Royals. Pitch Perfect KC will lead redevelopment efforts of the Paige Home through coordination with the Santa Fe neighborhood and the Paige family. Pitch Perfect KC will also create a nonprofit corporation to oversee the project long term.
While the plan for the transformation is not set in stone yet, initial restoration concepts for the $3 million project include a coffee shop, gift shop, exhibits where guests can learn about Paige, meeting rooms available to be rented out for events and office space for the Santa Fe Area Council and the Satchel Paige Foundation.
“We’re in the first inning right now and we have a long way to go,” said Vincent Gauthier, the managing developer for Pitch Perfect KC. “We’ve been working with the neighborhood and we’ve been hearing stories that the family has shared with us. This is a process where we’re going to continue to get insights from folks who knew Satchel Paige.”
Gauthier said the family is playing an integral role in planning efforts. His plan includes recording interviews of Paige’s children and grandchildren sharing memories they have of life in the home to put on exhibition.
“Those kinds of things are what we believe will bring life to this particular home and then hopefully catalyze into the broader neighborhood and community,” Gauthier said.
Pam O’Neil, Paige’s daughter, grew up in the Paige Home and said she and her family will be over the moon when the project is complete.
“What is important is our neighborhood coming together and fostering goodwill,” O’Neil said. “It is so important to preserve the history of our ancestors and the Paige family is, once again, surely grateful for those involved with the preservation of our home.”
Pitch Perfect KC and the Santa Fe Area Council say to stay tuned for updates on the project.