Westport businesses could expand to sidewalks, streets with city approval

Plan would create more outside dining
Posted at 4:38 PM, May 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-07 19:35:38-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The Westport Regional Business League is hoping to help its area small businesses.

The COVID-19 pandemic shut down many Westport businesses, and several business owners told 41 Action News that Kansas City's 10/10/10 rule will prevent them from making any money.

The Westport Regional Business League reached out to Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas on an idea that would help bring business back to Westport.

Lucas told 41 Action News the plan would shut down certain streets and sidewalks in Westport to allow small businesses to expand outside.

“We thought it would be worthwhile to try to evaluate a situation in which we can actually allow the restaurants and establishments to extend out into the streets to create, frankly, more pedestrian opportunities but also more dining opportunities," Lucas said.

The general manager of Ça Va, Sarah Hogan, told 41 Action News the restaurant has been trying to get by with to-go orders, but the new idea would help keep business alive.

“I find it to be really positive and a little bit heartwarming in all of this that they’re striving to make new ideas and new solutions," Hogan said.

The expansion into the streets also would increase the occupancy number for each business.

The closure of streets and sidewalks would be from 4 a.m. on Fridays to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

“I think this idea of extending patios and being able to use that outdoor space in addition to just the foot traffic really is going to make this possible for ourselves and for a lot of places, and also to still continue safe distancing practices, which is absolutely as important to us as to anyone," Hogan said.

Under the Westport Regional Business League's idea, some type of movable fencing would be required by all businesses choosing to expand.

“Having a new opportunity, I think an attractive and exciting one to kind of reflect that old plaza feel where you actually have folks that are able to eat in space and enjoy the outdoors and we’re able to keep safety paramount by ensuring that there’s adequate social distancing," Lucas said.

Lucas said the idea will require City Council action. He's hopeful to have legislation next week that would help guide Westport and other areas of the city with this idea.