NAACP opposes KC Council’s decision to make Westport sidewalks private citing possible civil rights violations

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People says it's opposing the privatization of some sidewalks in Westport.

The NAACP is planning a news conference for Friday to talk about its opposition to the plan the Kansas City Council approved last week.

The council voted to turn over control of sidewalks from Westport Road to 40th Street and Southwest Trafficway to Broadway to the business owners. In exchange, business owners must pay for maintenance of the sidewalks.

People who go to Westport late Friday and Saturday nights will be checked for weapons starting in April 2018.

“Although privatization is much in style these days,” the Rev. Rodney Williams, who is expected to speak Friday, said in a statement from the NAACP, “it cannot solve this very real issue. Indeed, it is more likely to increase civil rights violations and increase racial tension in our city.”

Council members who voted against the proposal said they can't support giving away public property and think there are better ways to curb crime in Westport.

Down the road, if the city decides to take the sidewalks back, it must pay $132,000 to the Westport district.