Kansas City officials: Teen curfew worth $200,000 investment

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - This was the first full summer that Kansas City has had stricter summertime curfews in place, keeping unsupervised kids under the age of 18 out of the Country Club Plaza, Power and Light District, Westport, Zona Rosa and 18th and Vine.

Kansas City officials are standing behind the new rules, saying it works.

According to the Kansas City Police Department, 40 parents have received citations for knowingly allowing their kids to violate curfew. The police department says they hardly received any calls about kids causing trouble in the city's five entertainment districts this summer.

Saturday night, Kansas City Mayor Sly James held a "Rock the Block Party." The block party, on Troost Avenue Bridge between 47th Terrace and Volker Boulevard, brought out large crowds of families for free food, live music and games.

The $20,000 event was the culmination of two months of Club KC, weekly parties set up at area community centers to give kids a safe place to hang out during the summer.

The city spent $200,000 dollars for DJs, video game equipment and other supplies for the parties. They are investments Mayor James says paid off.

"Has there been any problems on the Plaza or any other place? No there hasn't," Mayor James said. "Kids wanted a place to hang out and we provided that. That's concrete evidence that this is working."

Teenager Marqon Kirkwood attended all eight Club KC programs, and says he's grateful the city added something safe and fun for kids to do.

"The music was off the chain, girls were off the chain. We need more programs like that," Kirkwood said.

Kirkwood admits most of his friends are involved in gangs and drugs, but Club KC helped him stay clean.

"I'm grateful because I'd probably be in juvee or something," he said.

The Club KC parties were so popular that hundreds of kids had to be turned away at the door, said Kansas City police spokesperson Marisa Barnes.

City officials are already looking into adding additional spots for kids to go next summer.

"These kids need places to work and things to do during the summer. This is a good start, but it's only a start," Mayor James said.

Money for the program could be easier to find next year. This August, voters approved a $3 million tax increase for the city's Parks and Recreation Department.

The 9 p.m. summer curfew runs through the last weekend in September.

From October through Memorial Day, the curfew will be 11 p.m. on weeknights and midnight on Fridays and Saturdays.

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