Leaders working together in hopes of keeping violence out of 18th and Vine District

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Leaders in the 18th and Vine District are getting creative. They want to keep patrons safe, and keep violence out.

A key committee met Tuesday to discuss options. They talked about urgent changes they hope to make. Business owners especially came out to make their voices heard and said violent crime is a cycle they are done with.

“I live here, and I see it,” said Shelia Johnston, owner of Gangsta Goodies Kitchen.

“I’ve been let down,” said Tiarra Taylor-Dixon, owner of Smaxx and Velvet Freeze Daiquiris. “I’ve been let down by the community, by Kansas City. It’s a little disheartening right now.”

“The business owners are doing everything they can to try to revitalize this area, and then we have those few bad actors. They ruin it for everyone,” Johnson said.

Business owners and residents said the crime rate in the district needs to stop rising.

The 18th & Vine Development Policy Committee is working to get off duty officers on the streets on weekends from around 9 p.m. to 3 a.m. There was also discussion of blocking streets and improving lighting in the entire district.

“Eighteenth and Vine is a jewel in this city, and it needs to be treated as such,” Third District City Councilwoman Melissa Robinson said. “People from all over the world — we are known for jazz and barbecue, and all of that happens on the Vine.

“What I hear stakeholders saying is that if we’re going to be responsible for elevating the city, the city also has to be responsible and do their part as well.”

The committee wants to work toward becoming a community improvement district before the end of the summer.

They also created two sub-committees, one aimed at property and business ownership, and another for community involvement. Taylor-Dixon was appointed to the business ownership committee and said she will do whatever she can to help.

“We see value in this area because most people do not we need to see value, and we need to appreciate the things we put down here as black owners and working together,” Taylor-Dixson said.

Committee chair and councilwoman Robinson said many of the ideas and concerns gathered at the meeting will head to the city council.

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