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New ordinance for Old Town: Is it good or bad?

In response to the increasing violence occurring in Old Town, Wichita’s city council has decided to approve a new citywide ordinance. Although this ordinance is mostly directed at the Old Town area, it will affect clubs and street vendors throughout the city.

Several shootings and other violent crimes over the last few months, including four consecutive weeks of gun shots, is what led the city council to make this decision. Most problems occur between the hours of 12:30 and 2:30 a.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. New changes will help the police and bar owners clear out the area more quickly during these hours.

The new ordinance requires establishments with a food or liquor license to prove that 30 percent of the sales are from food sales, otherwise 18-20 year olds cannot enter. Only individuals 21 and older can enter a drinking establishment. The new ordinance also prevents clubs from counting its cover charge towards the food sales.

Although most businesses are supportive of the new ordinance, other business owners have expressed doubt. Operators at Doc Howard’s Lounge believe the new ordinance could prevent them from hosting events such as a wedding reception, where all ages attend.

Citizens have expressed concerns about the reduced number of establishments that 18-20 year olds can enter. They believe this could lead to more loitering outside of the establishments.

In addition to the ordinance, Wichita police are working towards adding more lighting, cameras, removing vegetation and increasing police presence.

What do you think? Did the city make the right choice to protect Wichita citizens or are they infringing on the rights of 18-20 year olds? Will reducing the amount of establishments that 18-20 year olds can enter help solve the violence rise in violence? Do you believe the new ordinance will unfairly make street vendors suffer in sales?

Although voices from both sides provide good argument, the same message is seen across the city – we need to be proactive in protecting Wichita citizens and preserving historic Old Town.

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