Update: The Wichita City Council approved on second reading a new ordinance over safety in the city's entertainment city.
The vote was 5-0. Mayor Carl Brewer and council member Janet Miller are on a trip to China.
The ordinance which is aimed at improving safety in Old Town. Some elements of it also affect all bars in the city. It takes effect as soon as it's officially publish, which could be Wednesday or Thursday this week.
Original Story, October 8
Recent violence in Old Town is causing the Wichita City Council to take action. The council voted 6-0 to approve ways to improve safety in the entertainment district, and all bars in Wichita.
The changes include:
- Giving police the ability to prevent loitering outside of bars when they close.
- Adding surveillance cameras and more lighting
- Change how food sales are measured. A cover charge at a club that serves 18-20 year olds will no longer count towards the 30% food sales requirement
- Require sidewalk vendors to close at 1 a.m.
- Bar bounces can help clear parking lots after close, before they could only work within their own buildings.
The changes will go into effect sometime next week, once the ordinance is put in writing and read a second time to the council.
These changes come after several weeks of violence in Old Town after the bars close on Friday and Saturday nights.
"I think its saying the city is taking control of the situation and not letting negative aspects control Old Town," said Mort's Cigar Bar Manager/Part-owner Emma Russell.
But some bar owners still have questions about the changes.
"As far as the dispersal of crowds go and the loitering and monitoring other parking lots, I'm concerned," said Old Town Bar Owner Bryan Shapiro. "I don't understand or know how we are going to be able to deal with that."
Shapiro and others say they will keep talking to city council members and police to better understand the changes.