(WICHITA, Kan.)—Police can only solve part of the problem facing Wichita’s Old Town. How the public feels about the district after four weekends of shots fired is just as challenging.
“That's part of the issue…trying to convey what the facts are compared to what the perception might be. It's not helped by misinformation or what people think they know the facts are,” says councilmember Janet Miller.
The perception problem was only made worse this week when a company called Upsidedowntown designed and started selling a t-shirt which say "Welcome to Wichita Old Town Duck" followed by an expletive and two handguns.
A few days later, someone else printed a shirt to counter it, highlighting the positives Old Town has to offer.
In the meantime, business owners in area are fed up, the public is talking and city leaders are aware of it.
“That's the biggest message we as city leaders want to convey and the public to understand. Certainly we have identified a problem and we want to address that with immediate actions and longer term actions," says Miller.
Miller says most issues happen in the 12:30 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. time period on weekends as bars release.
“I will tell you that we have an internal task team and there is a lot of attention being focused on this two hour period of time to solve this problem."
Miller says the city is looking at possible changes to city ordinances which could include changing the age requirements of those allowed in clubs.
It’s also looking at loitering laws that would be specific to Old Town. She says the ideas have come from club and business owners in the area.