KC mayor’s summer program kicks off to offer alternative entertainment when curfew is in place

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Just because you can’t stay on the Plaza, doesn’t mean you have to go home. That’s the message from Kansas City Mayor Sly James, who is hosting events for teens all summer, as an alternative to breaking a city-wide curfew.

The Tony Aguirre Community Center hosted Friday’s kickoff for Mayor’s Nights, a summer-long program for teens to go to, instead of staying out at the entertainment districts where police have seen trouble from rowdy crowds in the past.

Emily Lohman lives and works off the plaza but not all of her encounters there have been pleasant.

“I live nearby and was on a run and there was a lot of kids on the skateboards that ran into me. A few of them had packets of matches and were throwing them at people and just being very silly,” Lohman said.

Police have responded to calls of fights and rowdy activity involving minors at entertainment districts in the past and it’s part of why the city has implemented curfews. Lohman said, “I feel like it really is just a good measure of safety to kind of keep everyone protected and in the places that are the best for them to be.

Minors must be out of the entertainment districts by 9 p.m. unless with parents. There are also curfews city-wide for kids up to 17 years old, from Memorial Day weekend to September. Lohman appreciates what she calls the protection of our city’s assets.

“This is something that draws people to Kansas City. It really is kind of the crown jewel of our city,” Lohman said.

Her friend Jaclyn Trevino moved here last August.

“I can see the pros and cons. I can see that being really good for kids being responsible. I can see that also maybe being a con for the business and wanting people to be around and spend money,” she said.

The city says just because teens can’t stay out late doesn’t mean they can’t have fun. That’s what Mayor’s Nights is about. Chantell Garrett works for the Mayor’s Office.

“It is a great alternative to just hanging out and really not having much to do," Garrett said.

Activities planned throughout the summer, with a hands-on approach, that gives the minors a safe, fun place to follow the rules. Garrett continued, “This gives them an opportunity to not get in trouble because they’re breaking the curfew, but to be somewhere where their peers are, where they can socialize.”

Lohman agrees, “The curfews I feel like, they really do make a difference.”

Click on the following link for more information about the curfews, the Mayor’s Nights events, and registration: http://kcmayor.org/mayorsnights