KANSAS CITY, Mo. - How does weekend violence on the Plaza affect the reputation of a prime Kansas City tourist attraction?
It boasts an 89 year old reputation that tourists know well.
“I’ve been coming to Kansas City for three years and I’ve heard so much about the Plaza, so we wanted to come down and see it,” said Rob Adams, a Plaza visitor.
“I heard (about the Plaza) on the plane coming down here (from Chicago),” said Gaylyn Timiney, another visitor. “I heard about it at the hotel.”
“I travel all over for work and it’s really nice compared to most places that I go,” said Danny Badorine, a visitor.
Badorine travels a lot as a sound technician for singer Katy Perry’s concert tour. However, he was stunned to hear what happened on the Plaza last weekend and what people are saying about it.
“Somebody was saying some pretty negative stuff about Kansas City, gang violence and other things which I wasn’t aware of before I came here,” Badorine said.
Saturday, someone shot three teens . Bodyguards for Mayor Sly James, who was standing across the street, pushed him to the ground for protection. While he and city council discuss stricter curfews , the question being asked on the Plaza is about its streets and reputation. Are they safe?
“I would come here because I’m a risk-taker,” Timiney said.
“It won’t alter anything at all because (the Plaza) is a landmark and people come to landmarks,” said Robert Smith, a 52-year-old Kansas City native.
He works in Truman Medical Center’s physical therapy unit helping gunshot victims recover.
“This year I’ve seen more than I’ve seen in a long time,” Smith said.
He said Saturday’s shooting is a symptom of a much larger problem that Smith wishes got more attention sooner.
“It could happen on Troost, which is not even a mile away, nobody cares,” Smith said. “But when it happens where most people live and your income, major income is coming into your city, then people (care).”
Smith hopes the Plaza shooting pushes city council members to find real solutions. So do tourists.
“I hope the city does something to minimize (the violence),” Adams said.
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