City council to vote on privatization of Westport sidewalks - KCTV5

City council to vote on privatization of Westport sidewalks

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The committee says Westport’s Community Improvement District would fit the bill for security, training and an outside monitor to evaluate checkpoints. (KCTV5) The committee says Westport’s Community Improvement District would fit the bill for security, training and an outside monitor to evaluate checkpoints. (KCTV5)
KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -

The Westport Business League is one step closer to gaining approval on an ordinance to vacate sidewalks on Friday and Saturday nights.

With a vote of four to two on Wednesday, members of a joint committee approved an ordinance that would make way for people who visit Westport on Fridays and Saturdays to feel a little safer.

“You don’t get a do-over when your shot. You don’t get a do-over when you’re a victim of a violent crime and you have to live with that as a victim in the process that comes along with that. So, I think that what is proposed is a reasonable measure for us to consider,” councilwoman Alissia Canady said.

Visitors would have to go through security checkpoints when entering certain areas between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m. They would be checked for weapons and other contraband. 

Under the plan, sidewalks on Westport Road and Pennsylvania Avenue would move from public entities to owned by the Westport Community Improvement District. Barricades would also be set up to block the streets.

Patrons would be asked to enter the district at one of four checkpoints and pass through a metal detector, searching for guns, knives, drugs and more. If the alarms sound, that person would be checked in more detail.

Several business owners and employees showed up to the meeting to show their support.

“Way too often I’ve had to close my bar down early due to the police and Westport security being concerned for people’s safety,” said Huston Snell who works at McCoys Public House and Brewery.

Some are against the ordinance because they believe it violates their civil rights and there isn’t enough evidence to prove it will work.

The city does have the right to take back the sidewalks with a 30-day notice, without reason, at any time.

“We have asked them to abandon this proposal and consider an alternative that has some resemblance of proof that it will help prevent further violence,” said Michael Kelley of Bike Walk KC.

The committee says Westport’s Community Improvement District would fit the bill for security, training and an outside monitor to evaluate checkpoints.

Officials say the plan will only be in effect during the summer months and special events.

The full council will hear the issue on Thursday.

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