Plaza image at risk if people no longer feel safe

Posted on: 9:43 pm, April 12, 2013, by , updated on: 10:54pm, April 12, 2013

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Expect to see more police on the Country Club Plaza this weekend.

A week ago, several teens were arrested there for fighting and violating the city’s curfew.

The immediate concern is for the safety of people visiting the Plaza, but what about the long-term implications if people start staying away?

FOX 4 has been asking that question to those who live on the Plaza, people who visit the area, and those who depend on its pristine image to make money.

The Country Club Plaza is a major selling point for Kansas City.

It has long been known for fine dinning, shopping, and of course the popular J.C. Nichols fountain.

“I think it’s beautiful. I think it’s a very important part of the city. It’s very vibrant. It’s architecturally stunning,’ said Plaza resident Marla Allen.

“I think the plaza is really important for us. For people for the environment,” said Carlos Reyes, who was visiting the Plaza.

Unfortunately in recent years, it’s also been known as the scene of several violent teen fights, including some gunplay while mayor Sly James was there for a visit. The problem lead Kansas City to pass a curfew for teens.

However some wonder if the Plaza’s image, and drawing power is already suffering.

“It does a little bit. Especially when there’s a lot of kids here. A lot of people come and enjoy their time and stuff like that. Yeah I think it does affect it a little bit,” said Carlos Reyes.

“There were sometimes when you use to come out of a movie and wonder where all these kids came from,” said Marla Allen.

“It’s something I think the city has worked really hard at trying to maintain security,” continued Allen.

However Plaza employees are among the first to notice when customers start thinking that security won’t be enough.

“Negative, a lot of business goes down because people don’t want to be affected by that, ” said Trei Woodbeery, who works on the Plaza.

FOX 4 also heard from several photographers and wedding planners who talked about the image of the plaza saying it’s important for their businesses.

Those photographers and wedding planners say a negative image for the plaza would be a threat for business.

However, despite some of the occasional teen ruckus, the plaza still remains a popular location for photo shoots, and parties.

We reached out to Highwoods Property, for a comment about the image of the plaza and if it had been or might be affected by teen trouble.

We were told that no one was available for comment.

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