Drive-thru debate in downtown Kansas City

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Jimmy John’s may be opening a new location, with a drive-thru, along Broadway near West 9th Street next to the historic Majestic Restaurant in downtown Kansas City, Missouri.

"I'd like to see them come here," said Erica Miles-Farris, who works downtown. "I think it would be great. They deliver. I don't have to leave the office especially on cold days like today."

But, not everyone thinks putting the franchise sandwich shop and its drive-thru in the heart of downtown Kansas City is a good idea.

"A drive-thru does not go with the look we're going for, the feel we're going for here. We're trying to keep that history alive in downtown," said Ellen Schwartze, of the Downtown Neighborhood Association.

In addition, to ruining the historic area, the neighborhood association said a drive-thru restaurant would cause more congestion on Broadway, an already popular street, especially during rush-hour and could discourage more people from walking through downtown.

"We would like the investment that shows for downtown Kansas City, but what we're really against is the drive-thru part.  Trying to put a drive-thru here would really start to back things up even more than they get," said Schwartze.

Kevin Lewis is the manager of a Jimmy John’s just blocks away at a location on Broadway, near West 39th Street.

"I don't think it would be a problem for that area, "said Lewis. “If you have a drive-thru at a Jimmy John's, it's going to be popping for sales. I just think it would make a lot of money if it has a drive-thru."

Construction crews have begun tearing up the ground, making way for the possible new restaurant and its drive-thru.

The Kansas City Planning Commission will vote on a resolution whether to allow drive-thrus in downtown, then within two weeks, the Planning,  Zoning and Economic Development  Committee will decide if a temporary moratorium on the issue is needed, before the City Council makes a final decision.

On Monday, 2nd District Councilman at Large Ed Ford said the Planning and Zoning Committee pushed their discussion on the issue back.

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