Plaza business owners say city must find safety solution

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Business owners on the Country Club Plaza are calling for change after three teens were shot near a Plaza restaurant.

Mayor Sly James was just finishing up a tour about safety on the Plaza, when shots rang out and he was pushed to the ground by his bodyguard Saturday night.

James was just 50 yards from where the teens were shot, which would put him across the street near the Cheesecake Factory.

Police say the gunman, who still hasn't been arrested, was hiding in the bushes near by.

All three teens are expected to recover.

Businesses on the Country Club Plaza are insisting the city find a solution to ensure safety.

The Plaza was named by the Project for Public Spaces as one of the top 60 places in the world to visit.

Many people think of it as Kansas City's crown jewel.

Plaza business owners told NBC Action News that's exactly why a solution for safety is a must to keep one of the city's economic engines strong.

Many owners said it's not unusual to see loads of teenagers -- some even younger -- dropped off on a Saturday night.

One business owner said Saturday's shooting was unusually violent but, since a flash mob last year, the large groups of gatherings have continued to the point he's set his own teen curfew on Saturday nights.

One owner said groups of young people will obscure traffic by walking down the middle of the street.

The owner at Starker's restaurant says he arrived just after Saturday's shootings.

Owner John McClure said, "I was pretty shocked but I don't think this will be something that happens again. I don't think we can say it'll fix itself. We have to take some action by either finding a curfew or alternatives for youths to do.

But Mayor Pro Tem Cindy Circo promised to find alternatives after last year's flash mob.

Nothing was done and now she has said she does not believe that is the effective route.

The Mayor has said a council decision about a curfew will likely happen on Thursday.

 

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