A street corner in the Westport neighborhood of Kansas City | Courtesy of Charvex/Wikimedia Commons

Westport street privatization proposal set for public hearing

A controversial proposal to privatize a portion of Kansas City’s Westport entertainment district’s streets, to aid in screening for weapons, goes before the the city’s Plan Commission on Tuesday for public debate.

The plan calls for privatizing sections of two main Westport thoroughfares on weekend nights, which would allow law enforcement to search for and keep weapons and firearms out of the district. Under Missouri law, they can screen for concealed weapons on private property but not on public streets.

The Westport Business League argues this move is needed to ensure public safety, while critics say there has to be a better answer than turning public streets into private property.

The measure had been scheduled for a hearing in June but prompted considerable disagreement and was postponed in an attempt to reach a consensus. Opposing sides held a number of meetings but there still isn’t full agreement. Still, supporters say it’s time to get moving through the public approval process.

The plan commission is a citizens advisory group, so attorney Charles Renner, who represents the Westport Community Improvement District, said any recommendation must still go to the City Council for approval, leaving the door open for more conversations to reach consensus.

Read more: Kansas City Star

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