People weigh in on privatizing streets in Westport - KCTV5 News

People weigh in on privatizing streets in Westport

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Not everyone likes the idea of privatizing streets in Westport. (Natalie Davis/KCTV) Not everyone likes the idea of privatizing streets in Westport. (Natalie Davis/KCTV)

The idea is to privatize certain streets in Westport so law enforcement can search for weapons and keep them out of the entertainment district. However, not everyone supports that.

Safety continues to be a concern for business owners and patrons in Westport.

“We weren't open two months before we were burglarized,” said Steve Engravalle, owner of Westport Ice Cream Bakery. “There've continued to be burglaries here. There've continued to be arrests. There've continued to be shootings.”

“Whatever can make our patrons safer, to keep people coming down here, that's what I'd hope for, for sure,” said Micah Schmidt, who manages Port Fonda.

That’s why several Westport community groups are pushing for a change.

They’re asking to privatize parts of Pennsylvania Avenue and Westport Road on Friday and Saturday nights from 11 p.m. to 4 a.m.

The Westport website explains that “localizing the streets would permit security scans for firearms — just as you expect when going into an arena, stadium or concert.”

That means the use of metal detectors or wands.

Margo Miller, who lives and works in Westport, supports the change.

“I often am out here late at night when the bars close and there's been quite a few shootings lately,” she said. “I'd feel a lot safer if weapons were not allowed in Westport.”

Carnel Daniels works and spends much of his time in Westport, too. He supports increased safety measures, but he’s hesitant.

“Taking care of safety is a priority,” Daniels said. “It's just how it works into the atmosphere of the environment of Westport. I definitely think that it will change a little bit of the Westport vibe.”

Some argue that they should legally be allowed to carry a gun wherever they want. However, this proposal impedes that.

“We're not losing civil liberties,” Engravalle said. “We're actually increasing civil liberties to keep a safe place for our Kansas Citians to go, know they can have a great time, enjoy themselves. Because to be honest, alcohol and firearms and weapons don't mix.”

The proposal goes before the Kansas City Plan Commission on Tuesday.

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