18th & Vine locals pushing for fewer guns in district after recent violence

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — In light of recent violence, the push is on in the 18th & Vine District to boost safety measures. More than a week ago, Gary Taylor was shot and killed in the district.

Signs were up for much of the last week calling for no guns in the 18th & Vine District. People want to have the same securities as other neighborhoods, but it’s not so simple.

Friends and family said Taylor lived an inspiring life, and now his memory is inspiring a mindset.

Henry Service owns the Lincoln Building on the corner of East 19th and Vine streets. Taylor was friends with many of the regulars at the Corner restaurant on the first floor. The two signs draped the doorway to enter the restaurant.

“What they want to do is make this a gun-free zone and everyone supports that and our efforts towards making it happen,” Service said.

Taylor was a popular personal trainer and gym owner in the metro. He was killed on April 26 at East 19th & Vine streets.

Corban Ransom is a barber on 19th Street and a good friend of Taylor’s. He said 18th & Vine should be preserved, but also safe.

“Having people down here, letting people know that they’re safe, and to let them know that they’re ok when they come and partake in things that are 18th and Vine,” Ransom said.

Last year, talks between the city and property owners broke down discussing a community improvement district for the Vine.

“The city owns 100% of the blight at 18th & Vine. They won’t fix it. Without that you don’t have anyone to tax to put into thee CID, and the CID won’t tax itself,” Service said.

He hopes once the city can get to work on cleaning blight, a CID can bring extra lighting, security, and cleanup to the district.

“Put one shovel in the ground down here we would start a CID. The minute the city did any meaningful effort towards fixing it’s blight I would start a CID,” Service said.

For now, Ransom hopes Taylor’s memory will inspire people to keep the peace.

“Vine lost someone great, but Kansas City lost someone great, and the world lost someone great,” Ransom said.

Brandon Ellington, 3rd District Councilman, said many of the blighted buildings at 18th & Vine are being reviewed by the city manager’s office. They are working on a request for proposals for the properties.

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