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Plaza business, parks support protests, clean up damage

Posted at 6:21 PM, Jun 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-01 19:36:03-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Businesses and parks in the Plaza and Midtown areas were hit with vandalism in the unrest following peaceful protests this weekend, but parks leaders and business owners say they support the protesters' cause.

Kansas City, Missouri, Parks and Recreation spent Monday cleaning up Mill Creek Park.

Director Terry Rynard said while she's sad to see things vandalized, she supports the protesters.

"I don't want to sound irresponsible but quite honestly, the physical structures were way down in my mind compared to everything else going on," Rynard said.

It will cost the department $3,000 to $4,000 to power wash off the graffiti and clean up the parks grounds. Most of that money is to pay employees for their work.

The director said she still wants people to be able to show their emotion in art without further damaging the park.

"We are putting up these expression walls. These will all be painted white. We want people to come and write on them, paint on them, draw on them. Express their pain that way," Rynard said.

Down the street, similar wooden boards are being used to board up the windows of businesses on the Country Club Plaza.

The owners of Made in KC are taking a different approach to boarding up their store. They have signs up supporting the protest and the message it has.

"We wouldn't be having this conversation today, which is really a conversation about racism in America and racism in Kansas City, if people didn't break windows on Saturday," said Tyler Enders, co-owner.

Enders said while his business is losing money, he stands with protesters.

"We want this message to be heard very, very loudly that we have a really big problem in Kansas City," Enders said.

Plaza business had been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but recently reopened.

The Plaza closed early Saturday and remained so Monday for the protests.

"We have been reporting about 30 percent traffic of what we had seen last year at this time. We were seeing people come back out and about, getting more comfortable," Enderss said.