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Wichita City Council Considers More Safety Measures For Old Town

Becky McCray, flickr Creative Commons

New safety measures designed with Wichita’s Old Town district in mind could impact bars across the city.

The Wichita City Council is considering an ordinance that would require bars and clubs to make enhancements to their safety plans or risk temporarily losing their entertainment establishment license. Among the changes is a requirement that bars would have to stop playing music half an hour before closing time, to discourage stragglers.

The ordinance is part of a series of public safety measures implemented in Old Town this year. But council members are questioning why some of the new rules should also apply to bars outside of the district.

“I understand it in Old Town, but I’m not quite following it throughout the city," Jeff Blubaugh said.

Council member Janet Miller, whose district includes Old Town, says initial discussions did center only on the entertainment district.

“From a legal perspective, we didn’t have much leg to stand on to do some of these things only in one area...we actually needed to look citywide," she said.

The council tabled the ordinance until next week, when they want to hear more from law enforcement and business owners from outside of Old Town.

Also during Tuesday's meeting, council members gave initial approval to the city's new food truck ordinance, which would create a mobile food vendor license and allow food trucks to operate on city streets downtown. A second reading is required before a final vote.


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Nadya Faulx is KMUW's Digital News Editor and Reporter, which means she splits her time between working on-air and working online, managing news on KMUW.org, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. She joined KMUW in 2015 after working for a newspaper in western North Dakota. Before that she was a diversity intern at NPR in Washington, D.C.