Sunday, July 20, 2003
Kansas City, Mo. Westport business owners are hoping to appeal to older patrons and reduce the crowds of teenagers who like to hang out in the entertainment district.
A $1 cover charge will be required to enter the neighborhood after 10 p.m. on Saturdays, and only those 21 or older will be allowed in because vendors sell beer on the sidewalks.
"Frankly, if you're not 21, it's probably not a good idea to be in Westport late in the evening, whether it's Monday or a weekend night," said James Westphal, president of Promote Westport Inc., which is responsible for the cover charge.
The cover charge might be extended to Friday nights.
Bar owners reported business as usual last weekend, the first Saturday with the cover charge, though the streets and sidewalks were less packed.
Kyle Kelly, co-owner of Kelly's Westport Inn, said keeping the streets clear might draw older customers who had been turned off by the mobs.
"It does make it easier if the streets are less crowded," Kelly said.
Organizers are trying to give Westport the atmosphere of a street festival and are talking about bringing in outdoor musicians.