Proposed legislation could change the way revelers experience We - KCTV5

Proposed legislation could change the way revelers experience Westport

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Is a popular entertainment district in Kansas City losing its luster? City leaders are considering legislation that could change the way revelers experience the popular entertainment district. (KCTV5) Is a popular entertainment district in Kansas City losing its luster? City leaders are considering legislation that could change the way revelers experience the popular entertainment district. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

Is a popular entertainment district in Kansas City losing its luster? City leaders are considering legislation that could change the way revelers experience the popular entertainment district. 

Violence in Westport 

Gun violence has plagued a once-booming Westport and some say it has given the popular late night entertainment district a black eye. 

“Westport is a microcosm of Kansas City,” said Kyle Kelly, owner of venerable Kelly’s Westport.

However, streams of revenue from the big crowds are drying up in the wake of the violence.

Westport residents like Amy McCart are scared by recent shootings but more so worried about the plan to curb the violence. A plan McCart calls wrong and unjust.

“What worries me more is having a blockade,” McCart said. 

Westport Regional Business League Executive Director Kim Kimbrough presented a memorandum to city leaders requesting ownership of some streets.

The plan also includes deploying metal detectors at certain times during evening hours. Kimbrough says it would be no different than going to a sporting event or the airport. 

But, McCart makes clear people do not live at sporting venues or airports. 

“Large crowds and weapons and alcohol don’t mix,” Kimbrough said. 

The plan also would limit access to only those over the age of 21 with a valid ID.

“There are no other legal options that don’t violate people’s rights,” Kimbrough said. “Or get turned over by the courts.”

McCart believes the proposal restricts the ease of traffic and walkability of the historic neighborhood. She also fears metal detectors and checkpoints outside her home would escalate interactions between patrons and security. 

Temporary checkpoints  

For a few months, Westport set up checkpoints and required a valid ID. In recent weeks, the district has eliminated it for unknown reasons. 

“I open my door right now and I have a 100 people walk by my door every day. All different colors all different races. They are kind and wonderful,” McCart said. “Every few minutes there’s an interaction where somebody is questioning people that are walking by or going up to a barricade. I don’t want that, that’s going to create negative circumstances.”

Kimbrough’s memorandum has not been a focus of the city council.

Meanwhile, the Westport executive director says businesses are losing money.

Copyright 2017 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.

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